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- Carson Derrow
5 Tips for New Business Owners

Are you a budding entrepreneur looking to take the plunge into starting your own business? That’s an exciting and intimidating journey, but with the right planning, you can make it a successful one. From developing a comprehensive business plan to identifying key partners that share your vision for growth, there are plenty of ways for entrepreneurs to ensure their success in the early stages of launching their businesses. In this blog post, we will provide some tips and strategies on how new small business owners can get off on the right footing. Read on as we explore what it takes to launch a successful business!

1) Have a Plan: As they say, “fail to plan, plan to fail.” Creating a comprehensive business plan is an essential step in launching your business. Your business plan should include detailed descriptions of who you are, what products or services you’re offering, who your target audience is, and how you plan to gain market share.

2) Research Your Target Audience: You need to know your audience before you can even start to market your business. Research who they are, where they hang out, what their interests and needs are, and which channels are the most effective for reaching them. Once you understand your target audience, you can create a tailored marketing strategy to get their attention and convert them into customers.

3) Raise the Necessary Capital: Starting a business like Black Tie Moving requires significant capital investment, so you need to ensure that you have the necessary funds before you launch. Consider traditional funding options such as business loans or venture capital, as well as crowdfunding platforms that allow everyday people to invest in your business.

4) Network and Build Partnerships: In the early days of launching a business, it’s important to build relationships with industry partners and potential investors. Get out there and network at events, trade shows, conferences, and seminars to meet people who can act as key partners in the growth of your business.

5) Manage Your Time: Running a business can be incredibly time consuming, so it’s important to learn how to make the most of your time. Prioritize tasks and set realistic goals for yourself each day so that you can manage your workload and stay on track.

With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to launching a successful business.

The post <strong>5 Tips for New Business Owners</strong> appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
3 Reasons You Should Become a Real Estate Agent in 2023

You aren’t alone if you’re ready to begin a new career. Many adults around the country have found themselves searching for a new job that offers financial and personal fulfillment in 2023. Becoming a real estate agent is one of the best career opportunities for professionals of all ages! From job security to easily obtained certification, there are many benefits to becoming a real estate agent that makes doing so a viable and helpful option for professionals around the country who are looking to make a career question. Keep reading to learn three simple reasons why becoming a real estate agent might be a great career move for you in 2023. 

1) Flexible Work

Are you looking to escape the rut of your typical 9-5 office job? Becoming a real estate agent allows you to be your own boss, allowing flexibility when it comes to your working hours, workday dress code, where you work, and more. If you’re looking for a stable and high-paying career that will allow you to have complete control over your own work schedule and professional responsibilities, becoming a real estate is a great option.

2) Earning Certification is Easy

No matter the field in which you earned your college degree, getting the necessary education and certifications to become a real estate agent is relatively simple. In most states, you can take real estate classes online to learn about important real estate practices and terminology, such as “skip tracing,” and can earn certification to become a real estate agent in just a few months. If you’re looking to switch careers quickly and easily, becoming a real estate agent is a great way to do so,

3) Job Security

While the housing market’s stability might fluctuate from time to time in various cities around the country, there is no denying that people in the United States will always need real estate agents, meaning your job is relatively safe compared to others. This, combined with the ability to become your own boss, can ensure a strong sense of job security for those in the real estate industry. If you’re currently working a not-stable position and would like to find a career that offers you consistent stability and job security, working to become a real estate agent can be a great opportunity for you.

The post 3 Reasons You Should Become a Real Estate Agent in 2023 appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
5 Tips To Make Your Trucking Business More Sustainable

The trucking industry has become a highly competitive environment in recent years. This suggests that there are plenty of opportunities for truckers to earn money. But it also means that there will be fierce competition for the best routes and drivers.

As the industry continues to grow, so does its environmental impact. Statistics reveal that US trucks travel about 93 billion miles annually, most going eight miles per gallon. This releases almost six million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Such numbers show how an essential part of the nation’s economy contributes so much to its carbon footprint. 

Meanwhile, a 2021 survey showed that 35% of carriers feel pressured to minimize carbon emissions. The main reason is that government regulations reprimand them as part of a massive move to sustainable practices. 

Since many trucking business owners are adopting this trend, it may be time for you to do the same. That way, you can keep up with the competition while advancing sustainability in the industry. 

Here are five steps to make your trucking business more sustainable.

1) Use Eco-Friendly Fuel Sources 

A truck’s fuel plays the most significant role in its environmental impact, as diesel consumption produces tons of CO2. This means your trucking business can cut its carbon footprint if your fleet switches to something more efficient.  

Finding an alternative fuel source that doesn’t contribute too much to the environment is crucial. One option is biodiesel, a renewable fuel made from animal fats or vegetable oils. Another is ethanol, which comes from corn and other plant materials. You may also use compressed natural gas, which is more cost-effective than diesel or gasoline. 

You may also use a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. An expert in engine parts defines diesel cat converters as essential to the emission system, breaking down pollutants into less harmful elements to reduce their environmental impact.

2) Optimize Route Plans 

Route planning dictates the efficiency of your trucking business. This involves knowing the most dependable routes and the locations for transfers and drop-offs. Having good routes lets you reduce delivery delays while cutting fuel consumption. 

An excellent way to optimize route plans is through the help of a global positioning system (GPS). This tool allows dispatchers to monitor traffic situations in real-time, letting them reroute drivers to avoid jams.

If the driver loses their way, GPS can also help them by providing accurate coordinates of their position. They won’t consume more fuel by wasting time along roads they don’t know.

3) Minimize Empty Miles

Speaking of wasting time, consider cutting empty miles as well.

These refer to the mileage that a vehicle spends without a load. When heavy-duty trucks are left without hauls, all the fuel they expend goes to nothing. Each passing second of this means more fuel going to waste and more emissions released into the atmosphere.

To keep your fleet efficient, try minimizing empty miles through backhauling. This refers to taking freight from one key point to another rather than directly from origin to destination. It’s a good idea for long hauls because it reduces fuel consumption, emissions, and operational costs.

4) Educate Your Team On Truck Efficiency Practices 

As the people at the wheel, drivers play an essential role in maintaining sustainability. How they operate the truck, how many hours they put in, and how they drive affect the overall fuel consumption of your fleet. 

Knowing this, educating them about sustainability is an excellent way to get them on board with your efficiency efforts. 

You can do this by providing your drivers with materials discussing how they manage their trucks. These can include instruction manuals and flyers detailing the best practices for fuel efficiency on the road.

5) Reduce Idle Times

Idle times refer to when a vehicle is not moving at all. This occurs when a driver is at toll booths, at a rest stop, or warming up the engine before departure. Over time, they can rack up fuel costs.

Reducing these instances may be difficult to pull off. But small, smart steps make it possible.  

For example, you can use a geofencing tool to help your fleet find more efficient routes. Another thing you can do is conduct tire inspections to reduce breakdowns in the middle of transit. Doing these things lets you optimize delivery times while saving gas.

Join The Shift For The Future

Sustainability is becoming the primary concern of many industries in light of the crises we have witnessed throughout the years. You risk running against legislation and competition unless your trucking business catches up.

These steps are just the beginning of a steady progress toward long-term, ethical, and forward-thinking business practices. Adopting them will help your trucking fleet remain competitive in an evolving industry.

The post 5 Tips To Make Your Trucking Business More Sustainable appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
What are the Benefits of a Business Loan?

A business loan is known as a valuable tool for entrepreneurs and business owners who need to finance various aspects of their businesses. It helps entrepreneurs get funds for the expansion or growth of their businesses. Let’s talk more about the benefits of getting a business loan

Cash Flow Management

One of the benefits of a business loan is the ability to manage cash flow. A business loan can help fund operating expenses such as salaries, rent, utilities, and inventory. With access to these funds, businesses can maintain their cash flow and avoid potential financial issues.


A business loan can also help a business expand its operations. Whether opening a new location, hiring additional staff, or investing in new equipment, a business loan can provide the funds needed for growth opportunities.

Investment in New Technology

As technology advances, businesses must adapt to stay competitive. A business loan can provide the funds to invest in new technology such as software, hardware, or equipment, allowing businesses to streamline operations, improve productivity, and increase profits.

Purchase Inventory

Inventory is a significant expense for many businesses, and having access to a business loan can help businesses purchase the inventory they need to meet demand. It can help businesses maintain their reputation and customer loyalty by ensuring that products are always available.

Building Credit

It can also help you build credit, which will help in the future. By making regular, on-time payments, businesses can establish a positive credit history, which can help them qualify for larger loans or better interest rates in the future. You can also apply for small business loan according to the needs.

Tax Benefits

Interest payments on business loans are tax-deductible. It means businesses can reduce their taxable income by deducting the interest paid on their business loans, resulting in lower tax liability.

Increased Flexibility

Business loans offer greater flexibility than other types of financing. Unlike investors, lenders do not typically have a say in how a business operates, allowing business owners to maintain control over their operations.

Improved Cash Flow Forecasting

Businesses can better forecast their cash flow by having access to a business loan. Companies can more accurately project their expenses with a fixed loan payment, allowing for better financial planning and management.

Time-Sensitive Opportunities

Sometimes, businesses need funding quickly to take advantage of time-sensitive opportunities. A business loan can provide the funds needed to capitalize on these opportunities, whether it’s a limited-time sale or the opportunity to purchase inventory at a discount.

Competitive Interest Rates

Finally, many business loans offer competitive interest rates, making them an affordable financing option for businesses of all sizes. With lower interest rates, businesses can save money on financing costs, allowing them to allocate more resources toward growth and expansion.


There are several advantages of getting a business loan, from managing cash flow and expanding operations to building credit and taking advantage of time-sensitive opportunities, with competitive interest rates and greater flexibility than other types of financing, a business loan helps in the growth and success of a business.

The post What are the Benefits of a Business Loan? appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
Earn2Trade Review – What You’ve Been Waiting For

The road to becoming a successful trader isn’t for the faint of heart. The challenge also tends to prove more difficult for new traders. However, no matter where you are in the journey, it’s important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

But we’re forgetting one key ingredient: capital. No one can launch a trading career without any dough. Acknowledging this, you have probably looked into prop trading firms.

But knowing where to begin can be its own challenge with all of the different platforms out there. Which is the best for your money?

This is where the Earn2Trade review you’re reading comes center stage. In this review, we will cover everything you need to know about the platform so you can profit from it–literally.

Earn2Trade Review and Overview

Founded in 2016, Earn2Trade was developed by educators and traders with the mission of helping individuals get funded. The approach is two-pronged–they are an education provider who trains people to trade as well as a recruitment firm for funded investors.

Earn2Trade is one of many trading education platforms, teaching trading techniques from the most basic level to more advanced, technical aspects. Traders can utilize what they learn for personal trading or take a stab at getting funded via the virtual trading simulation tool within the Earn2Trade platform.

Most users opt for the latter–they sign up with the service with the goal of passing the evaluation program at the end of their training. Earn2Trade connects those who pass with one of their proprietary trading firm partners (Helios Trading Partners or Appius Trading Limited).

How to Get Funded

Earn2Trade offers three paths to help traders get funded: the Trader Career Path, the Gauntlet and the Gauntlet Mini. All three utilize the aforementioned virtual trading simulation tool.

Each track comes with a unique set of program challenges, rules and limitations. Additionally, they all include video sessions, webinars, news feeds and charting tools for educational purposes.

Though education is how Earn2Trade markets its platform, it shouldn’t be lost on you that it is still a business. Clients rely on Earn2Trade to bring them capable traders who can succeed in the financial markets.

Intro to the Gauntlet

Earn2Trade clearly wanted to be sure potential traders were serious about the program with a name like the “Gauntlet.” But, for those with the grit and grind, the Gauntlet can be used to see great profits.

Here’s the nuts and bolts: the Gauntlet is a 60-day assessment that comes with a one-time payment of $429. The set of rules that comes with the program include:

A trading plan must be submitted on the Dashboard A $25,000 account must be managed over the period of 60 days A maximum 10% drawdown A 10% profit must be reached by the end of the evaluation Trades must be made at least once per week for a minimum of 30 calendar days

Apologies for sounding like an infomercial but that’s not all! Additionally, those who are successful in the program are granted a conditional offer: if you reach a $5,000 profit, you are eligible to join the prop firm as a limited partner. 

The Gauntlet Mini

The mini version of the Gauntlet is a 15-day assessment where account sizes range between $50,000 and $200,000. The price per month for this program ranges between $170 and $550.

Like its big brother, the Gauntlet Mini comes with its own profit goals, daily loss limit and EOD drawdown. Other specifics include:

No single trading day can account for 30% or more of total profits or loss Users must trade for a minimum of 15 days Trades must be made during approved times Do not fall below the minimum account balance The Trader Career Path

Finally, the Earn2Trade Trader Career Path is a progression-based evaluation that grants you a funded account upon completion. At $150 per month, this program comes with a Ninja Trader or Finamark license, access to Earn2Trade’s educational catalog, a 60-day Journalytix license and a simulator profile for practice.

This program is best for beginners who don’t want the hassle of a time restraint. Traders begin with $25,000 to use in future exchanges and, though this program offers more freedom, it still comes with a set of rules:

A profit goal of $1,750 An EOD drawdown of $1,500 Traders must trade a minimum of 15 days to become eligible for funding A daily loss limit of $550 The Bottom Line–Can You Get Funded?

You should know by now that getting an Earn2Trade funded account is no walk in the park. Though it’s not easy, the goal couldn’t be more straightforward: learn, do well, pass the test and then get funded.

But don’t let this discourage you. With Earn2Trade’s educational resources and life-like virtual simulators, all it takes to get funded is a little desire, dedication and discipline.

If this is you, click here to get started with Earn2Trade today!

The post Earn2Trade Review – What You’ve Been Waiting For appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
Best Stock Research Websites of 2023

Stock market research can be a daunting task. There are thousands of companies and a plethora of financial data to sift through. But fear not, as the internet has brought us an abundance of stock research websites to help investors make informed decisions.

These websites offer a range of features, from basic stock quotes to in-depth analysis and customizable data. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned trader, there is definitely a stock research website out there for you.

In this article, we will explore the top stock research websites available, analyzing and comparing their features to recommend the best options for your needs. This article will only cover the basics and the 4 best, for more comprehensive coverage check out this best stock research websites article.

Let’s dive in and discover the tools that will help you achieve your investing goals!

The Top 4 Best Stock Research Websites Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research is an independent market research firm that offers detailed, well-written stock and fund picks that often go against conventional wisdom. They have massive amounts of free content on their website, including articles, video commentary, and podcasts.

For investors who want more powerful tools to do their research, Zacks Premium offers a 30-day risk-free trial period. The Premium service includes the Zacks #1 List which is a round-up of top picks that have historically outperformed the S&P 500.

You also get access to a premium screener with 45 predefined screens, Style Scores that rank all stocks on the Zacks #1 list for Value, Growth, and Momentum, a 50-stock portfolio with high long-term earnings potential, and Industry Rank.

They also have a Zacks Earnings Expected Surprise Prediction (ESP) Filter that identifies stocks with the highest probability of upside earnings surprises, and equity research reports for more than 1,000 of the most widely followed stocks. That is quite a bit of features that you can gain access to with Zacks premium, which is priced at $249 per year.


Morningstar is one of the most well-known research websites for investors looking to evaluate and monitor their investments, especially for mutual funds, ETFs, and stocks. Morningstar has been providing investment research for almost 40 years and is known for its independence and reputation for objectivity.

The Morningstar Investor service is a paid subscription that provides access to independent analysis, stock screeners, in-depth market observations, and Portfolio X-Ray, which evaluates all your holdings based on various criteria such as sector weightings, fees, and asset allocation. Morningstar’s approach to analytics and data-driven research, coupled with qualitative analysis from over 150 industry experts, ensures that the information you receive is reliable and accurate.

Morningstar uses a system of stars and gold/silver/bronze ratings to make it easy to identify what’s worth investing in immediately. The website also offers screening tools that allow you to pre-select some of your preferred stock qualities, generating a research list to narrow down your analysis. While the full research features are subscription based, Morningstar offers a free plan to explore their services before committing.


Benzinga is a well known financial news provider that distributes timely and relevant news across multiple brokerage platforms. Their service Benzinga Pro provides in depth research and analysis for traders and investors looking for more depth in their research.

The platform offers a range of features such as news, calendars, newsletters, and a squawk box. The beta filtering feature is essentially a stock screener for news that allows you to filter news results by ticker’s market cap, average volume, stock price, and more.

Benzinga Pro is best suited for day and swing traders and investors who need fast, actionable market news and research. The platform specializes in providing exclusive breaking news stories on publicly traded companies and covers all sectors, analyst ratings changes, and SEC filings from companies.


TradingView is a popular investment research software among stock traders who use technical analysis to inform their trades. It provides real-time data, personally selected indicators, and stock charts that are adaptive to your device and customizable with your trendlines. TradingView’s charts are built on HTML5, and you can even draw your own trendlines.

The platform also offers a powerful stock screener, which includes pre-built data sets with fundamental sets like Overview, Performance, and Dividends, and technical sets like Oscillators and Trend-Following. TradingView also has pre-built screens, including Large-Cap, High-Dividend, and Most Volatile.

TradingView’s community charting service acts like a social media network and allows investors to collaborate with over 10 million TradingView users. The platform also has analysis tools that can help predict a stock’s price action, and it offers paper or simulated trading to help investors get used to applying their research without real money at stake.

While TradingView’s free option only includes one chart, one alert, and three indicators, its paid options range from $9.95 to $59.95 a month. You can try the platform for free for 30 days to see if it meets your needs.

Final Thoughts

Conducting investment research is crucial for making informed investment decisions, and using the best stock research websites is essential for obtaining reliable information. With so much noise and misinformation in the market, it’s crucial to use vetted and trusted sources for analysis and research.

The websites we’ve covered, such as Zacks Investment Research, Morningstar, Benzinga, and TradingView, are all excellent options that provide comprehensive and reliable data for investors of all levels.

But having access to reliable information is just the first step in making informed investment decisions. For a more holistic approach to your research, consider using stock screeners or trusted investment newsletters. By utilizing these tools, you can find the most relevant information and pick winners.

Remember, your investment decisions are only as good as the information behind them. So, take the time to do your research, use trusted sources, and make the best possible choices for your investment portfolio.


The post Best Stock Research Websites of 2023 appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
Best Investment Newsletters Reviewed

With endless sources of financial news and constantly fluctuating stocks, it’s nearly impossible to become an expert on every stock. That’s where investment newsletters for buying stocks can help. They provide investors with informed recommendations and analysis without a significant time commitment. But with so many newsletters available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.

Legendary investors, like Warren Buffett, rely on roundtable discussions to guide their investment decisions. But for regular retail investors, investment newsletters are a more accessible alternative.

These newsletters offer periodic advice on new stock ideas, investing strategies, portfolio management techniques, stock market news, and other information to help you make better decisions.

To help you cut through the noise, we’ve compiled a list of the top 3. For each pick, we’ll provide the value you’ll receive, the price you’ll pay, and who each newsletter is best suited for. The more high-quality information you have, the better your chances of increasing your rewards and minimizing risk.

Although detailed, our list is short and only focuses on the top 3, for a more comprehensive list, check out this best investment newsletter article.

Best Investment Newsletters: The Top 3 Motley Fool Rule Breakers

The Motley Fool’s Rule Breakers investment newsletter is a perfect option for those looking to invest in disruptive technology stocks. While its sibling, Stock Advisor, covers various industries, Rule Breakers focuses on companies that can potentially change their entire industry.

Early investors in these companies can achieve massive returns if they are successful. However, this type of investing also comes with increased volatility, and many of Rule Breakers’ recommendations may not be profitable yet.

The service offers two new stock picks each month, along with community access and investing resources. The regular cost of Rule Breakers is $299 per year, but new members can sign up for $99 for the first year.

If you are comfortable with the potential risks and rewards of investing in disruptive technology, Rule Breakers may be the right choice for you.

The Oxford Communique

The Oxford Communique is an investment newsletter by Alexander Green, who is a Wall Street veteran with over 20 years of experience. He’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, and Forbes, and he’s the Chief Investment Officer at The Oxford Club.

Green’s experience and track record should give you the confidence you need to consider this fantastic option. The Oxford Communique is the more advanced of the Oxford Club’s main subscription options, marketed towards individual investors with some experience under their belts.

By subscribing to this investment newsletter, you can get direct investment recommendations sent right to your email inbox. These recommendations are based on a model portfolio created by professional investors, which can help you make informed decisions.

In addition, the subscription includes a host of other features, including monthly stock picks, weekly email updates, and bonus reports. The annual price starts at $79, the service also comes with a 1 year money-back guarantee, giving you peace of mind knowing that you can try it risk-free.

Timothy Sykes

Timothy Sykes is a well-known penny stock trader and founder of, who also provides trader education through various newsletter subscriptions. Subscribers can receive daily stock recommendations, trade alerts, and informational videos.

Sykes became a legend by turning $12,000 in bar mitzvah gift money into millions through penny stock trading and has since created a stock-picking service and educational content to help others replicate his success.

His Tim Alerts daily newsletter provides penny stock picks and stock watchlists, which subscribers can receive through email, SMS, or real-time push notifications.

The subscription also includes access to a live chat room and a library of over 7,000 videos to train you on penny stock trading. Timothy Sykes offers two subscription options: Tim’s Alerts for $74.95 a month and Pennystocking Silver for $149.95 a month.

Final Thoughts

Investment newsletters can be valuable to investors at every level of expertise, providing endless sources of financial news without a significant time commitment. However, there is no “best” investment newsletter, as some are geared toward general stock investing, some are good for options, and some are for day trading. It all depends on your individual investing style.

The newsletters mentioned in this article are some of the most reliable available, but it doesn’t hurt to sign up for multiple if they interest you, especially since several are free.

Investment newsletters are a great way to gain insight and recommendations from veteran traders, but they shouldn’t be your only horse in the race. You need to use every bit of information at your disposal to gain the necessary edge.

That’s why it’s vital to use other stock research tools like the best stock research websites and stock screeners to help pick winners.

Even with the best investment newsletters and research tools at your fingertips, remember that investing is never a sure thing. Always do your due diligence, diversify your portfolio, and invest only what you can afford to lose. Happy investing!

The post Best Investment Newsletters Reviewed appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
Augusta Precious Metals Review 2023 – High-Quality Silver And Gold
What Is Augusta Precious Metals?

Augusta Precious Metals is a precious metals dealer and IRA investing platform based in Beverly Hills, California. Augusta Precious Metals offers an easy way to invest in high-quality silver and gold using an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and gain exposure to the precious metal sector.

Augusta Precious Metals has five categories of high-quality silver and gold products, including coins and bullion. Eligible metal assets comply with IRA’s purity requirement of at least 99.5%. With Equity Trust, you can create an IRA and SDIRA and transfer funds from an existing IRA to invest directly from the Augusta Precious Metals dashboard.

All assets held in storage are insured by London underwriters, and Augusta Precious Metals covers shipping costs to your preferred depositaries.

In this quick Augusta Precious Metals summary, I will go over all the best features of this platform. If you want to read a more in-depth analysis, check out our full Augusta Precious Metals review.

Pros & Cons of Augusta Precious Metals Pros Invest in gold and silver with an IRA Five categories of premium gold and silver products 10+ storage facilities across the US Free shipping in the US Assets are fully insured until they reach your preferred depositary Insured by London underwriters Cons High minimum investment ($50,000) Limited offering (only gold and silver coins) Purchase Precious Metals With Your Self-Directed IRA

With Augusta Precious Metals, you can use funds from your IRA and invest in precious metals.  Creating an IRA account with Augusta and purchasing precious metals is very easy, and you can get started in just a couple of minutes. Here are the steps:

Create a new IRA account using Augusta’s SDIRA custodian Fund your account or transfer funds from an existing IRA account Select qualifying silver and gold products and make a purchase

Augusta Precious Metals works closely with Equity Trust to provide IRAs to new clients. Equity Trust is the leading SDIRA provider in the US with more than 30 years in the business and $28 billion in assets under management – is Augusta Precious Metals worth it?

Invest In High-Quality Silver And Gold

Augusta Precious Metals is a highly focused precious metal dealer with a broad offering of coins and bullions. Here are the five categories of premium products:

Common Silver Bullion Common Gold Bullion Premium Silver Premium Gold IRA Eligible Coins

IRA Eligible Coins comply with IRA purity regulations (99.5% purity) and can be used as investment vehicles on tax-advantaged accounts like IRAs. Augusta Precious Metals offers both silver and gold IRA Eligible Coins.

If you’re looking for a border range of offerings, we recommend checking out JM Bullion. With JM Bullion, you can invest in five different precious metals, including platinum and palladium, and choose from dozens of products.

10+ Secure Depositaries Across The US

Augusta Precious Metals has more than ten secure depositaries across the US so that you can access your metals anywhere, at any time. Some of the depositaries are located in:

Los Angeles, CA Las Vegas, NV Shiner, TX South Fargo, ND Wilmington, DE Bridgewater, MA New York, NY

For the complete list, you can reach out to Augusta Precious Metals’ customer support.

Free Shipping Anywhere In The US

Augusta Precious Metals covers shipping your metals and insuring them until you receive them. While in storage, metals are secured in vaults and insured by London underwriters.

All Augusta Precious Metals depositaries comply with stringent access-control protocols and top-of-the-line security systems. In our Augusta Precious Metals competitors, we go over some alternatives.

Augusta Precious Metals Fees Asset Management Fees: Free Account Setup Fee: $50 (one-time fee) Storage Fee: $100/year

Augusta Precious Metals charges a fixed storage fee which can be beneficial if you’re looking to purchase large amounts of metal. Most other precious metal dealers like Apmex charge a flat fee plus a percentage of your holdings.

Sign-Up Process

There are no special requirements to sign up for Augusta Precious Metals, but it only operates in the US. Here are the steps to get started:

Visit Augusta Precious Metals’ website Click Get Started on the top right Select a product Make a deposit

If you use our link to sign up, you’ll get a welcome bonus on some products, plus the option to join their referral program and start earning from $165-$200 per referral.

Augusta Precious Metals BBB Reviews

Augusta Precious Metals has decent user reviews, and it holds an average rating of 4.93/5 on BBB. Here’s what some of those users have to say about Augusta Precious Metals:

1) “Transferred two old 401k’s to Augusta Precious Metals. was very easy, and the staff answered any questions. It took about two or three weeks from start to finish. I would highly recommend Augusta to anyone!” – Jeffrey M.

2) “My experience with Augusta Precious Metals has been excellent!! I was kept up-to-date on each activity throughout the set-up, funding, and transfer process. The representatives assisting with my transactions were knowledgeable, available, and helpful—great customer service!!!” – Murray S.

3) “Augusta Precious Metals is truly a professional and people-oriented organization. They understand customers’ concerns and go above and beyond to mitigate them.” – Claudio P.

4) “A friend recommended me, Augusta. I was interested in learning more about a precious metals IRA. They set up a zoom meeting, and I was provided with a very detailed presentation. Afterward, they answered all of my questions. They were accommodating and knowledgeable.” – Sasha D.

If you are not entirely convinced that this particular service is for you after reading these reviews, or you want to make smaller purchases, we recommend Acre Gold. Acre Gold supports fractional purchases and shipping.

Alternatively, we recommend checking some of the most common Augusta Precious Metals complaints and what steps they’re taking to improve their service.

Final Thoughts

Augusta Precious Metals is an established and one of the largest precious metal dealers in the US. This platform is for you if you’re looking for an easy way to put your IRA to work and gain exposure to the precious metal sector. Augusta Precious Metals offers comprehensive insurance on all your assets held in storage and cover shipping costs anywhere in the US. For those reasons, we recommend Augusta Precious Metals for anyone in the US looking to hedge against inflation.

The post Augusta Precious Metals Review 2023 – High-Quality Silver And Gold appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
The 3 Best Trading Journals For 2023

Looking to get better at trading? Want to optimize your trades and make better decisions? The answer is simple: start keeping a trading journal!

It’s a tool that is often overlooked by beginner traders, but the truth is that it can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

With so many trading journal options available today, it can be overwhelming for newer traders to choose the right one. But fear not, we’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the best trading journal apps available. From analyzing stocks, options, futures, forex, and cryptocurrency trades, these apps have got you covered.

So if you’re serious about improving your trading game and making better decisions, read on to discover the best trading journal apps and learn how to make the most of them.

We only cover our 3 favorites, if you want a list with more options, read this best trading journals article.

What Makes A Good Trading Journal?

A trading journal is simply a log that records details about each trade, including what was traded, when, why, and how much money was made or lost. And while you can manually keep a trading journal, using online journal apps can make the process easier and provide valuable insights.

By maintaining a trading journal, you can strategically manage your trades by analyzing the effectiveness of your techniques over time. It can also help you manage your emotions, ensuring you keep a cool head and avoid making impulsive decisions based on fear or greed. Plus, with the automated statistical and analytical tools offered by online journal apps, it’s easier to identify key trends and patterns in your trading history.

So, whether you’re a beginner or experienced trader, a trading journal can be an invaluable tool to help you succeed in the market. In the following sections, we’ll explore some of the best trading journal options available and their unique pros and cons to help you find the best fit for your trading style.

Best Trading Journals: The Top 3 Trademetria

Trademetria is a trading journal platform that is well-suited for beginner and advanced traders who want to take a deep dive into the data and statistics behind their past trades.

Although it lacks some of the forecasting features of other platforms, Trademetria compensates for this by providing detailed analytics that can inform future strategies.

Trademetria doesn’t offer an automated option to track trades in real-time, which may be a downside for active traders. Instead, it only allows manual entry of previous trades. The platform’s analytical tools, such as backtesting and the trade simulator, can help you better navigate the financial markets and improve your trading style.

While it may not be the best fit for everyone, the advanced features of Trademetria make it worth considering for traders who value detailed analytics and insights to help form their trading decisions.


Tradervue is a robust trading journal that was launched in 2011, making it one of the earliest available. It offers excellent broker importing support for widely used platforms like Interactive Brokers, Fidelity, and E*TRADE.

Tradervue’s features, including automatic trade marking on charts, fee tracking, and community sharing, have made it popular among hedge funds as well as professional institutions. The platform is suitable for traders of stocks, options, futures, and forex.

The major drawback is that it does not provide real-time data. Tradervue’s strength lies in its reporting features, including its risk analysis reports. With these reports, traders can quickly identify areas for improvement in their trading strategy, and adjust their approach for future success.

Tradervue also offers loss charts, which allow traders to identify patterns in their trading techniques that are either positive or negative.

The platform can be used for free, but with some limitations. Subscribing to its monthly plans, which range from $29 to $49 per month, is recommended to take advantage of its full capabilities. Overall, Tradervue is a great trading journal with advanced features available at an affordable price.


Edgewonk is a trading journal platform and educational resource that offers logging tools for all major markets, including forex, stocks, futures, CFDs, crypto, and commodities.

The platform adds a “gamification” element to trading, making it unique compared to other trading journals. Edgewonk offers a flat annual fee of $169 for users outside the European Union. For EU users, the pricing is a bit higher due to VAT inclusion.

One of the standout features of Edgewonk is its AI testing tools, which include strategic backtesting and future account projections based on your trading strategy. Users can even input trades they chose not to take and see how they would have performed if they had.

This feature helps refine trading strategies by showing what might have happened and what could happen in the future. Edgewonk’s website also offers a free, robust blog section to educate traders on markets, trading strategies, and the platform itself.

While there is a bit of a learning curve to using Edgewonk, the platform is highly customizable and perfect for those with high volumes of trading activity. The yearly payment allows for tracking unlimited trades, running custom statistics, using a trade simulator, and creating new trading strategies in the Trade Planner.

Final Thoughts

Using a trading journal is an essential part of becoming a successful trader. It allows you to analyze your trades and refine your strategy over time. While there are many trading journal options available, it’s important to choose one that best fits your needs and trading style.

Whether you decide to use a free option or invest in a paid platform with more advanced features, the most important thing is that you commit to using and maintaining your journal regularly.

Remember, a trading journal is just one tool in your trading toolbox. To maximize your success, you should also utilize other resources such as stock research websites and stock screeners to supplement your analysis. By using all of the available resources at your disposal, you can gain a significant edge in the financial markets and achieve your trading goals.

The post The 3 Best Trading Journals For 2023 appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- Carson Derrow
Best Prop Trading Firms – Why 2023 Could Be Your Year

Prop trading firms have become extremely popular in the world of finance. And this popularity is expected to increase as we progress into 2023.

This fame stems from the numerous benefits offered to both prop traders and financial institutions.

We are going to tell you everything you need to know about prop trading firms in this article. Specifically, we’re going to illustrate why 2023 may be the best year yet to get involved.

If you’re a beginner and looking for the perfect crash course, however, check out Modest Money’s best prop trading firms for aspiring traders.

A Crash Course on Prop Trading Firms

Those who are new to this kind of language may be confused as to what a prop trading firm is. They also want to know how it works.

In short, a prop trading firm is a company that provides its traders with investment capital. In return, the company gets a percentage of the profits earned.

The benefits of this partnership are endless.

Traders are given access to capital through these funded trading accounts that they may or may not have had before. Additionally, they get the trading experience they can employ in their personal lives.

The firm, on the other hand, is investing and profiting from using its own money. Otherwise, it would just be investing client money and getting a smaller cut.

As you can see, this is a win-win for both the trader and the firm.

The 2023 Predictions

The proprietary trading industry is on the cusp of having a lucrative year. Put simply, business is booming.

A recent survey of over 100 senior prop trading executives reported that 68% of firms are planning an above-average technology investment budget for 2023. Twenty-five percent said their budget would be significantly above average.

Additionally, prop trading firms are taking initiative outside of technology. Eighty percent of respondents are planning to increase staff numbers in 2023.

Despite the current economic turbulence that is wreaking havoc on global markets, this is good news for prop traders–who usually benefit in times of volatility. The expectations are high and 73% of respondents are predicting an above-average year.

The numbers seemingly point to one thing: the time has come for prop traders on every level to take advantage. It’s time for aspiring and veteran traders alike to put the stock screeners to work. And they can do that with the prop trading firms listed below.

Best Prop Trading Firms to Check Out

Just like everything in life, prop trading firms have pros and cons. But this isn’t what turns most people off. It’s the hard work, the learning curve and the risk that deters potential traders.

It doesn’t come easy. But neither does anything worth having.

TopStep Trader

TopStep is known as one of the most reputable trading firms on the market. This is due to the profit splits and the generous payouts.

With TopStep Trader, you get to keep 100% of your first $5,000 earnings and 90% after that.

TopStep welcomes beginners and advanced traders to their platform, offering them the opportunity to enhance their skills. To become funded is a two-step process known as Trader Combine. Those who pass the combine move on to Trader Bootcamp to learn about trading psychology and risk management.


Like TopStep, FTMO requires aspiring traders to pass an examination before getting funded. This also comes in a two-part series–Challenge and Verification.

The FTMO challenge is 30 days, however, you can advance to the verification stage if you complete it early. The verification phase is 60 days. Passing this, traders can manage an account of up to $400,000.

There are a few things to keep in mind:

You must trade a minimum of 10 days to pass the stages There is a 5% maximum daily loss A 10% profit target A maximum account loss of 10% Features to Remember

Now that we mentioned maximum daily losses, we are reminded to look out for some key features when choosing a prop trading firm:

1) The platform itself – When choosing a funded trading account, it’s essential to be sure you know how to navigate the platform. This enables you to better analyze market data and make trades more efficiently.

2) Educational resources – This is especially true of beginner traders. Most prop trading platforms offer educational tools and resources where you can enhance your skills.

3) Reputation – Make sure the firm you are going with is notable and trustworthy. This ensures your protection.

4) Fees – Read the fine print! You don’t want to be hit with hidden fees a couple of months in.

A Final Note

Becoming a prop trader offers many advantages. But it takes hard work. Fortunately, the prop trading firms we mentioned take some of the load off. And they will be there with you every step of the way.

The post Best Prop Trading Firms – Why 2023 Could Be Your Year appeared first on Entrepreneurship Life.

- What I Found
Jaden Brodeur | Luma
den brodeur luma cofounder


Co-Founder of Luma, a company that integrates UV-C light technology to self-clean and eradicate 99.99% of bacteria from your drinking water.

What Is Luma? Tell Us About Your Product, Brand, And Overall Mission.

Luma is a hydration company that’s reinventing the outdated reusable water bottle industry.

Luma 1.0, our first product, is a reusable water bottle that integrates UV-C technology to eradicate 99.99% of bacteria from your drinking water. We’re currently developing a carbon filtration component to additionally treat water for non-bacterial contaminants left unaffected by UV-C alone.

Our long-term mission is to replace single-use plastic’s role in our hydration infrastructure, for the betterment of our bodies and planet.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Business ideas were my nerdy interest growing up. Startup stories inspired me and adding new ideas to my notes was an everyday thing. My biggest inspirations came from big brands I thought were cool and wanted to be seen using, like Apple and Nike. So I inherently took an especially strong interest in consumer, brand, and design. I also liked to think big. Big problems, big markets, big opportunities.

I got hung up on reusable water bottles when I got to high school. It felt like out of nowhere, everyone had one. At first, they were compelling to me because they’re a product at the intersection of my interests in consumer, brand, and design. The market was massive and growing, and there was no undisputed leader. Then I really went down the habit hole. Why was the market growing so quickly? Sustainability? Were people trying to drink less bottled water? But why was bottled water consumption still rising exponentially? Why was that so bad? Why was there no innovation in the product category?

This went on in bits and pieces for years. The more I learned about sustainability and the water bottle space, the more I thought something was there…that one day, we’ll see a company built on innovation, premium quality, and impeccable design, and they’ll do to water bottles what the iPhone did to cell phones.

Years later, I met my co-founder, Willy, while he was working on the original product concept for Luma. His idea was for a water bottle that used UV-C light to self clean, inspired by his OCD and germaphobia. He was a student at BYU in the same year of undergrad as me, and he launched a Kickstarter project to fund the development of an MVP, when I came across the project while startup scouting for an internship.

We got to know each other well over the span of nearly 2 years while Willy worked through the development process and finally completed production of MVP units. After that, the project had fallen by the wayside. Willy was finishing up undergrad while working full time at a consumer company in Utah, and I was working full time for the same company I’d interned for, but I was ready to build something.

We had a series of long conversations in early 2021 about the project’s biggest obstacles, what was needed to move it forward, how it could happen, and our vision for the future. We decided to team up and give it a full-go, and formed Luma Hydration Inc. a few months later.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company? luma hydration

My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is being in a position of autonomy. For someone who’s overflowing with passion, creativity, and has high conviction in themselves, there’s no better feeling than being able to work with total freedom. Being an entrepreneur provides me with that.

The most challenging part for me is needing to spread my time across many things at once, which comes from being a small team. Learning to juggle multiple projects simultaneously continues to be a big learning curve for me.

The most exciting moment? Seeing a picture of Tiger Woods using our product was probably the most surreal moment. I’m a golf nut and grew up watching him, so seeing that happen was a dream come true.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Raising our pre-seed was a wild ride. We started raising in summer of 2021 when we were ready to move forward with our new manufacturer on Luma 1.0 development. All we needed was capital. I remember being so naïve going into that first round. I’d never raised capital before, but I had a background in startup financing and I figured it’d be something I’d excel in, or at least get the hang of quickly.

It was a stressful time. We were young, first time founders starting a consumer goods company in an extremely saturated market, and we didn’t have a launch-ready product yet. Heck, we didn’t even have a finished website up at the time. Needless to say, it didn’t go as easy as planned. We were just too early for most investors to give us the time of day, and we didn’t have extensive friends & family networks to lean on.

In August, we closed our first investment from a solo angel. Over the course of the next 8 or 9 months, we pieced together a pre-seed of roughly $250k from angels and one small fund, all of whom were investing in the passion, scrappiness, and resilience we had as entrepreneurs.

Looking back, I’m really grateful for what we went through. Raising that first round was one of most important stages of my growth as an entrepreneur, and we’re a much better company today because of it.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

My co-founder, Willy, is one awesome dude. I think we have a really unique relationship because we’re so much alike in some ways and opposites in others, on both a personal and professional level. The thing I appreciate most about Willy is his commitment. It takes a very resilient, determined person to persevere through all the ups and downs of building a company, and for me to have that in Willy is something I’m extra grateful for.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Luma?

That things never go exactly as planned, and because that’s the case, there’s a fine line between adequate planning and over-planning. This has been a big learning curve for me. The more experience I’ve gained as an entrepreneur, the more I’ve learned that it’s nearly impossible to predict exactly how or when certain things will go. Embracing this more and more over time has had a huge impact on how we go about company planning.

Our roadmap, strategy, and us as entrepreneurs need to be flexible. Fortunately, this is something my co-founder and I are both inherently good at it.

Have Recent Supply Chain Issues Impacted Your Launch And Overall Product Development? Can You Share A Bit About Your Manufacturing Process?

We definitely had our fair share of stress from supply chain issues this past year, although mainly just on the importing side. Our first production run was complete in early June, and we were anticipating a roughly 30-day import timeline. That turned out to be far from accurate. We hit delays at pretty much every point possible. First it was a shortage of cargo ships, then it was a congested docking port so the ship stayed at sea, then it was a shortage of labor to remove our container from the ship, then it was a shortage of rail equipment. It was especially stressful since we’d launched our private beta in anticipation of our inventory arriving shortly, so this was just a nightmare and forced us to pivot our rollout plans.

Fortunately, we don’t rely on frequent production runs or imports, so it’s been smooth sailing since our inventory arrived and we can plan well in advance for future production.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

My workday schedule is a bit all over the place and a big goal of mine this year is to develop a more consistent routine. The struggle for me is all rooted in my sleep schedule. I have a habit of working late into the night which I’m trying hard to break.

I just recently started getting into meditation which I try to do every morning before starting the day. In the early evening I like to take a couple of hours around 5ish to separate myself from work and do something active with friends, although sometimes it’s tricky depending on what we have going on at the moment.

To stay productive, I’m a religious user of Google Calendar, iOS Reminders, and Apple Notes. I use Google Calendar to time block projects I’m working on, Reminders to keep a running list of small things I need to handle both for the company and my personal life, and Notes to document thoughts popping into my head throughout the day.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Passion: The best entrepreneurs have an immensely strong and genuine passion for what they’re working on. Love it. All of it. Be obsessed.

Humility: Every founder makes mistakes. Good founders have the humility to accept when they’ve made a mistake or a poor decision, and then correct it.

Unwavering Resilience: Entrepreneurship is full of ups and downs. The ups can feel euphoric, and the downs can feel dreadful. Founders need resilience to push through the lows. When all is said and done, the day a startup fails is just the day the founders give up.

My biggest piece of advice: fall in love with the process, not the destination. Appreciate the challenges and embrace the failures along the way.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You That Taught You An Important Lesson.

I remember when I was 5 years old, in preschool, there was a table full of jigsaw puzzles. Any time you finished a puzzle, you’d get a sticker next to your name on the puzzle chart. It essentially resembled a leaderboard, with the amount of stickers next to your name as the score. I obsessed over it. I’d spend hours every day doing puzzles, committed to having the most stickers next to my name, and running up the score so no one could catch me.

Looking back, this was the first display of my competitive nature that I can remember. As a 5 year old, I obviously had no understanding of any deeper meaning to that. As I’ve gotten older, I find it interesting to look back at my childhood where I innately displayed characteristics that are still so present in my behavior today as an adult.

If You Can Have A One-hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be And Why?

Probably Will Ahmed, founder & CEO of Whoop.

I think Will is an incredible founder and I think Whoop is an incredible company. Everything they’ve had to go through to build an exceptional product while competing with some of the biggest companies in the world, like Nike, Apple, and Microsoft as they entered the space of wearable technology, it’s so inspiring.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I like to spend time with friends. My closest friends are all pretty competitive, so that usually means we’re playing something. Golf, pickleball, pool, darts…if there’s a winner and a loser, we’ll play it.

What Are Some Things You Incorporate Into Your Schedule To Maintain Health And Wellness?

I try to stay active and spend time outdoors.

Playing golf helps me cover that from spring through fall. Winters can be brutal here in Connecticut. I picked up pickleball this year with friends and I’ve been loving it.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“Control what you can control, embrace what you can’t.”

I’ve always loved this quote, and I try to remember it whenever I’m facing a challenge or feel stressed. It helps me remember how to direct my energy, and makes everything seem so much simpler.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Ah, this is the toughest question in the game.

Success at the most basic level is just the accomplishment of a goal. I’m an ambitious person, as most entrepreneurs are, and my goals are constantly evolving and growing as more progress is made. So on a personal level, I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I’m satisfied and not pushing further, and I think that’s the beauty in it. Success for me is the constant effort in growing as a person, with pride in the person I’ve become, and excitement for the progress I’m striving for.

  Jaden Brodeur’s Favorites Stack:


1. Open, by Andre Agassi

2. How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

3. Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight

Health & Fitness:

1. Golf

2. Pickleball

3. 12 Chlorella tablets daily


1. Uniqlo t-shirts

2. White Nike sneakers

3. 47 Brand Hats


1. Figma

2. Spline

3. Spotify

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. How I Built This with Guy Raz

2. Chew On This

3. The Herd (for my sports content)

Upcoming Travel Spots:

1. Japan

2. London

3. Australia

- What I Found
Anurag Gupta | Calyptia
Anurag Gupta, Co-Founder of Calytpia


Co-Founder of Calyptia, a company that makes it easy for users to get the most value out of their observability and security data.

What Is Calyptia? Tell Us About The Company And Overall Mission.

Calyptia is the company behind two open-source projects: FluentBit and Fluentd. These projects make it easy for users to get the most value out of their observability and security data. At the same time, they help users enrich, redact, reduce and process all of their data streams.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I have been in the engineering and observability space for the past 10 years. I started at Microsoft, where I gained exposure to open source and where I met my current business partner, Eduardo Silva. 

After spending some time at Microsoft, I moved to Treasure Data and helped lead the enterprise piece of their open-source projects in 2017. After about eight months with Treasure Data, I felt my career needed a shift. The company was at a fork in the road –– whether to pursue customer data platforms or open source. Treasure Data was acquired shortly after, and I left for Elastik to work in cloud services and product management for the following two and a half years.

I saw an opportunity with Treasure Data that was never fully realized because of where the company was at the time. Eduardo and I remained in contact all those years and decided we could jump on the opportunity we saw at Treasure Data. We chose to pursue our own business, which is now Calyptia.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

I received two pieces of advice for naming a company: stay as close to the letter “A” as possible and if you can get a dotcom domain name, that’s a big bonus. Eduardo is from Chile and currently lives in Costa Rica. He has become fond of bird-related names, with a carrier pigeon logo for Fluentd and a hummingbird logo for Fluent Bit. The name Calyptia originated from the word calypte, which is the genus of the hummingbird. Calypte sounded like “Calyptia” when pronounced in Spanish, so the name stuck. 

We also had a Greek customer who pointed out that calypta or calypte means to assist or help in Greek. We like having that connotation associated with the name as well. 

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite part of my entrepreneurial journey is the amount of impact and the immediate results we see from performance. As an entrepreneur, there’s no team I have to report back to or person I have to go to asking for permission. I’m able to execute as I see fit and watch how decisions unfold.

That autonomy also leads to my least favorite part — there’s a lot to do. In building Calyptia, there is never just one item on my to-do list. There are hundreds of parts of a company, and it’s easy to get lost in the minutiae. 

That said, running a business is also a lot of fun. There’s a lot to learn, try out and figure out  with such a diverse set of problems.

My most challenging and exciting moments are in determining how to grow effectively. As part of that, I want to ensure that the culture we want to embody as a company continues to tread well and that we’re working together as a company vs. just a product team, with shared collective goals. These are challenges I welcome as a first-time founder and are much greater than just wanting to build a product. 

There are two parts of my job that excite me the most. First, I love seeing the joy from customers when we help to solve their problems and the positive comments we get on our product. It’s great to know that we’re doing something valuable and that people are excited. 

That translates well to the second part that excites me most about my job, which is the people side of the equation. We’ve been able to create something that never existed before and everyone,  from product development to marketing team members, can see how the work they do resonates with users and customers. 

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

We were lucky in the fundraising process. The time we began fundraising was in a founder- and funding-friendly time when folks were looking to invest in a seed round. When we brainstormed investors, we started by looking at trusted connections first and foremost.

We knew we already had a really large community of tens of thousands of users, and had almost already proven the efficacy of our business model from our previous work. There was an entire market being built around open source, so we took our one-year business plan and built it out for the next five to 10 years.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

Eduardo is the other Co-Founder of Calyptia. He was responsible for creating FluentBit and is extremely technical in his abilities. I’m on the product management and sales side because I love interacting with people and making fast-moving decisions. Eduardo balances me out with his ability to focus on the long-term vision and technology aspect of the business. He is thoughtful about how to simultaneously take care of the product and segments of the business.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Calyptia?

The biggest thing I learned about building a business is not to underestimate how much people matter. A business is not a product or a number of sales or revenue. It’s the people who make up that business. I’ve loved learning how to host employees and ensure they feel taken care of. I hadn’t had much experience in that capacity before. 

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New Products Or Features Launching Soon?

Growth at Calyptia has been great over the last year. We’re focused on open source and our commercial product, and we have seen both grow extraordinarily well. We’ve seen deployments grow from 1B to 3B on the open source side. With our product offering, we’ve been able to triple our revenue over the last year. We launched Calyptia Core earlier this year and are adding four to five new features a week. We welcome anyone interested in learning more to reach out to us.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

My work day fluctuates throughout the week, but I like to keep my schedule open for new customers. At least 50% of my meetings for the week are with customers –– talking to them about use cases, selling to them and understanding their problems.

Another 25% of my time is spent with the team to ensure everyone is aligned with how we tackle our goals. The last 25% of my time is dedicated to thinking and can be as simple as going on a walk.

Tools-wise, I implement as many as I can into my daily routine. I’m a self-diagnosed tools addict. If I see something on Product Hunt that’s cool, I’ll check it out. And if it adds value, I try to add it to what I already use: some of which are Motion, Superhuman and Google Docs.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

There’s a lot of gatekeeping in the entrepreneurial world, but prospective entrepreneurs just need to start. As long as someone starts and continues with the most basic skill –– even part-time –– over a long period of time, their chances of success increase. A person’s determination for entrepreneurial success can be different too. That success may be an additional $10 each month to supplement the occasional fast-food meal. But courage, persistence and the willingness to start are essential for entrepreneurs.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You That Taught You An Important Lesson.

As mentioned, I’m a first-time founder, but I tried to start a company twice before Calyptia. The first time, I tried to start a project with a bunch of random folks. The team was really tenured and cohesive from past careers and we had a beta product out there, but when I started to get into fundraising, I realized I wasn’t fully into it.

After that experience, I decided to do a small project with a trusted ex-coworker who was also a really good friend. I worked on this education startup project for a few months. I ultimately left that startup though because I missed working in infrastructure. It’s okay if things don’t feel right and good to listen to that: sometimes your gut is really important.

Initially, I was an advisor to Calyptia in its early stages, before recognizing my passion for the project and deciding to join full-time. There are so many opportunities out there. Entrepreneurs should know that the journey may not start out perfectly and while that may be discouraging, it’s important to continue pushing forward.

What Are Some Things You Incorporate Into Your Schedule To Maintain Health And Wellness?

I like to go to the gym a couple of times a week, where I do yoga or class-based fitness. It’s also important to me to monitor my health and take time off if not feeling 100%. I always encourage every employee to do the same.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I like to travel a lot if I can. I will go anywhere to hike or spend time seeing the sights. Otherwise, I’m always super-eager and happy to play video games, read books and spend time with family. Any free time, I’ll take it.

My favorite place I recently visited was Colombia. I also traveled to Cuba about five years ago and thought it was really cool to see Havana and the old cars.

Who Is Your Role Model?

My mom is my role model. She works really hard and has a great way of attacking problems.

If You Can Have A One-hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be And Why?

I would have a one-hour meeting with Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Chase. He has a different way of thinking about the world that is so far removed from everyday thinking. I’d like to hear his perspective on life and business.

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

With the current state of the economy, the pandemic, and the war between Russia and Ukraine, it’s impactful to see how global the world has become. Things so far away can have such a global impact. Pricing, inflation and gas are all connected globally.

With software and open source, we find ourselves in a position where the global community is even closer. There were big fires in Greece a few years ago, and the open-source community connected with those impacted by the fire. Communities like these make connections much smaller and less far apart.

Calyptia’s goal is to create a global company with open source first. Wherever our customers are, we want to meet them and help them be the best they can be. That mindset has helped us scale, and we’ve seen success and more opportunities in a post-COVID, remote world. As we remain closer together, we soldier on.

What Does Success Mean To You?

To me, success is control over my own time — doing the things I love to do and meeting with the people I’d like to meet. Want to go on a trip? Let’s go! I like the ability to travel and experience new parts of life. Success is not anything too monetary to me.

  Anurag Gupta’s Favorites Stack:


1. Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, by Olivia Fox Gabane

2. The Mom Test, by Rob Fitzpatrick

3. Atomic Habits, by James Clear

Health & Fitness:

1. Orangetheory Fitness

2. CorePower for yoga

3. Peloton in between classes


1. Costco t-shirts (they’re the most comfortable)

2. Rhone for athletic gear

3. Allbirds for shoes


1. MacBook

2. iPhone (I’m too addicted)

3. Noise-canceling Sony headphones because I travel a decent amount

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. How I Built This with Guy Raz

2. The Daily by NYT

3. Observability newsletter from Michael Hausenblas

Upcoming Travel Spots:

1. Rwanda

2. Sri Lanka, when it opens back up

3. Seychelles

- What I Found
Lamine Zarrad | StellarFi
Lamine Zarrad


Founder & CEO of StellarFi, a company set out to solve one of the biggest economic problems faced by American consumers - access to credit.

What Is StellarFi? Tell Us About What You Do And How It Works.

StellarFi is a credit-building platform and public benefit corporation on a mission to disrupt the U.S. poverty cycle and provide credit access to 132 million Americans with low or no credit.

Members can begin using StellarFi through a tiered monthly subscription, which empowers them to build credit by paying the bills they already have, such as streaming services, rent and phone bills. We report bill payments made through StellarFi’s platform to the three major credit bureaus – Experian®, TransUnion® and Equifax® – building a positive payment history for our members. The website application launched in June 2022, and we are rolling out a mobile app later this year.

I’ve been on a trajectory of creating solutions for larger problems. I went from optimizing logistics at one military base to tackling banking challenges across a whole industry, and now, I want to take on issues facing entire populations and help those whose lives have been impacted by a lack of financial literacy or a string of financial challenges.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

My goal is to leverage technology to help others succeed, but growing up, my goal was about trying to survive. I was born in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan SSR, which was a former republic of the USSR. When the Soviet Union fell, my family was forced to escape from an ongoing ethnic war on Armenians, which my mother was.

Suddenly, my comfortable childhood was turned into being a refugee with nothing but a bag of clothes. After fleeing to Moscow, eventually making it to the United States and going to school here, I joined the Marine Corps.

On my first deployment to Iraq, my inner entrepreneur really took over. I always noticed inefficiencies and assessed processes, and I would pitch ways to improve infrastructure to the colonel running the base I was on. Thankfully he was very receptive to my ideas and allowed me to help manage logistics for our base of 20,000 personnel. The resourcefulness that I honed as a refugee and immigrant helped me make significant improvements to our infrastructure and logistics during that time.

After the military, I earned a business degree and landed my first job in financial services at Merrill Lynch. I wanted to continue in the financial sector, so I went to grad school to study economic policy and worked for a hedge fund. Then, I accepted a position as a bank examiner in the U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

As a regulator, I had a unique, 360-degree view of the banking system and saw that banks, both large and small, were (and still are) profoundly reactive instead of proactive. This prompted my interest in how we could use data-driven technology to help banks make more advantageous decisions and provide better experiences to customers. These experiences led to the birth of my first startup, Tokken. Since then, I’ve founded Joust (acquired by ZenBusiness) and now StellarFi.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The inspiration is the double entendre of “stellar” credit that signifies financial excellence and illustrates the grandness of our cosmic concept.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite part of the journey is the process of creation. I love synthesizing seemingly unrelated concepts into something completely new and then bringing that idea to life. The least liked experience is having to fire people. I always take it personally.

The most challenging moment for the company and me is always the decision to actually commit to the concept full time because there’s no going back once you head down that road. You either succeed or fail, but either way, you must complete the journey.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

In March, StellarFi closed a $7.2M initial funding round. The round was led by Acrew Capital and co-led by Trust Ventures with participation from Accomplice Ventures, Fiat Ventures, Vera Equity, Permit Ventures, Kindergarten Ventures, and angel investors.

Since March, we’ve brought on amazing talent from across the globe and publicly launched the StellarFi credit-building platform. With thousands of members now using the platform, we’re busy improving the current experience and designing valuable features we’re excited to launch later this year.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

My founding partners are Stacey Tisdale and Angela Yee. Stacey Tisdale is an award-winning TV broadcast financial journalist, financial behavior expert and CEO and co-host of Wealth Wednesdays, a digital financial empowerment platform. Angela Yee is a serial entrepreneur. She co-hosts the nationally syndicated morning show The Breakfast Club and Wealth Wednesdays, and she hosts her own podcast.

Stacey and Angela are both financial literacy advocates and have done great work to inform and empower their communities. StellarFi is a public benefit corporation with a mission to improve the financial well-being of Americans. Stacey and Angela share this vision and they have the tools to speak to the underserved communities we want to reach.

StellarFi Is A Public Benefit Corporation. Tell Us More About This And What It Means In Terms Of Your Company’s Values And Goals.

People deserve more. Anyone who pays rent should have the opportunity to buy a home, and no one should be stuck in a cycle of not being able to get credit because they don’t already have credit, or paying more for things because they have less financial power. That’s what inspired me to found StellarFi as a public benefit corporation. We want to generate new opportunities that anyone can access.

Earlier this year, StellarFi co-hosted its first community-focused financial literacy event with the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority chapter to promote financial literacy for the BlPOC community. In turn, the city of Bridgeport mayor named April 30, the date of the event, Stellar Credit Day in honor of the event.

This event came on the heels of StellarFi’s “Get Your Bills Paid with Stellar!” $10,000 Sweepstakes to help people pay their bills with sweepstakes prizes totaling nearly $70,000.

StellarFi also partners with Stellar Credit Day keynote speaker Stacey Tisdale, who also is a StellarFi founding partner, and Angela Yee on initiatives including sharing financial literacy best practices through their digital finance empowerment program “Wealth Wednesdays.”

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

I really, really dislike routines. But I recognize the value of having some predictability in the day. So I try to have consistency in my daily activities but reserve the right to be flexible in changing and modifying whatever I’m doing.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Resilience (because it’s a freaking grind). Empathy (because you MUST KNOW thy customer and team). Killer Instinct (because you only eat what you kill).

You must ask yourself if there’s something else that you could do for a living, if the answer is yes, then do yourself a huge favor and pursue that other thing. If the answer is: I absolutely can not do anything else but be an entrepreneur then go for it.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching StellarFi?

We thought our product was solving a big problem for a small group of people. Instead, we realized we have a mass market solution.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You That Taught You An Important Lesson.

Although it’s a funny mistake now, it was terrifying back then. The funniest mistake I made was at my very first significant investor pitch to Wells Fargo. Investor pitches have a specific format with only so much time allotted and specific points to hit, and at this pitch, there were dozens of investors, high-profile people, and a handful of other startups. I had shared my ideas before and spoken to investors and thought I had my pitch down, so I barely spent any time practicing.

When it was time for my pitch, I stepped up on the stage and blanked. I was so nervous. Every second felt like an eternity because I couldn’t push a word out. Words finally started coming out of my mouth and I’m still not quite sure what I said. I said some things about the business and maybe about the business model. After I finished, I sat down next to one of my co-founders and he said “Well, the silver lining here is no one can steal our idea.”

The takeaway from that experience was no matter how good you think you are, practice is essential. Every new experience is unique and requires practice for success. I felt I was experienced in selling my ideas and public speaking, but since then I’ve learned it’s important to prepare.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I spend time with my family, read, exercise, play and try to carve as much time as possible to think.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I don’t have a role model.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

Failure is a factor of success” is my mantra.

You have to embrace and anticipate it. No matter how experienced you are, there will be failure and you have to manage it, leverage it, then turn it into success.

How Do You Think Your Industry (Or The World In General) Will Change Post-COVID?

Fintech provides compelling ideas and technologies to emerge that will alter the state of our ever-changing world. Here’s what to watch for:

Accelerated evolution: Because of COVID-19, remote work was an absolute necessity for over two years, and platforms like Zoom and Slack scaled at absurd rates to keep businesses operational. Tech investments were completely recalibrated, with billions in capital going to the digital economy. The lesson from this is to continue our technological and entrepreneurial evolution to better prepare for the unknown and unpredictable tech evolutions, in fintech specifically.

Decentralized trust: For better or for worse, Americans have disassembled their trust in the mega-entities that once dictated our opinions, decisions and ideologies. But, as with anything else, decentralized trust has a silver lining—especially for fintech. Consumers who once feared using a credit card online are now comfortable depositing checks digitally, using apps to transfer money to friends and family and investing in blockchain. In short, decentralized trust has a ripple effect that leads to consumers accessing loans, investment tools and more through fintech that would otherwise be unavailable.

Mass empowerment: There are swaths of the American populace that don’t understand the power of a good credit score—not because they lack financial literacy, but because they’ve never experienced life without good credit. With inadequate credit, consumers pay more for necessities, lack access to credit-based investments like homeownership and education, and endure financial emergencies with no safety net. Poor credit begets poor credit, and the consequences persist from generation to generation. Although Americans are facing immense challenges in a post-COVID world, it has opened the eyes of many to better understand and adopt financially literate practices.

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

Inflation is currently at a forty-year high as a recession looms in the near future. Americans don’t have to feel weighed down by a troubled economy and can take straightforward steps to ensure financial stability in the coming months and year:

Get current on your credit card payments 

Falling behind on loans and credit card payments can have serious consequences for your credit. Payment history, which represents your track record for repaying your debts, accounts for 35% of your credit score – more than any other credit rating factor.  Lenders can only report delinquent accounts to the credit bureaus if they’re more than 30 days overdue, but they may charge penalties if you pay even one day late. Coupled with inflation, those late fees can snowball into a serious deficit in your budget. Automating your payments can help if you simply forget due dates. If you find yourself making late payments because you don’t typically have cash in your account when the bill is due, look for areas to reduce expenses temporarily while you get caught up.

2. Build an emergency savings fund

Saving money is challenging, and unfortunately, building a savings fund becomes even more challenging during an economic downturn. Although it’s tough, focusing on stashing some cash away can keep rising prices and financial emergencies from causing long-term damage. For example, if you need to cover an unexpected repair or medical bill, a savings account helps you avoid going into debt to pay the bill or fall behind on your other expenses.

3. Reduce your spending and expenses

The forces driving inflation are complicated, but the effect is simple: as prices rise, life gets more expensive. Take a look at your accounts to see how your spending has shifted in recent months. If you notice vulnerable areas or your spending is no longer aligned with your financial goals or income, look for ways to cut back. You can’t control the price of gas or food, but you can control how often you drive or eat out, or eliminate unused memberships and subscriptions.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success = freedom to do most daily things not out of necessity but because you want to do them.

  Lamine Zarrad’s Favorites Stack:


1. What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars, by Brendan Moynihan and Jim Paul

2. Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, by Peter Kropotkin

- What I Found
Christy Fletcher | Authoritive


Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Authoritive, a company that builds customized learning experiences over messaging technology for experts and creators.

What Is Authoritive? Tell Us About What You Do And How It Works.

Authoritive is a technology platform that allows content creators, coaches and experts of all kinds to deliver paid programs via messaging (SMS, WhatsApp, Slack, MSTeams et al). Right now, we’re collaborating on the content development and building each program, and supporting the creators in marketing and sales, so we’re selective about who we’re working with, but by the end of this year we’ll have a self-service option that will allow anyone to create a program and sell it.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

My background is in publishing. I have run a very successful literary management company where I collaborated with writers to help them develop ideas which turned into books and then supported them in the publishing of those books. Eventually I grew into helping them develop communities around their work and with strategies for how to grow their businesses to be self-sustaining. In doing this over and over, I realized how many people were overly dependent on social media platforms that both owned their audience and required enormous effort to maintain engagement, while only providing erratic monetization at best.

There were also people who wrote books and made a good living speaking or consulting but were limited by their available time and by not having a product outside of themselves or a book. I concluded that there had to be a technology solution that would fill this product space, enabling them to deliver an experience of value to their audience, keeping that connection strong, while providing recurring revenue. Messaging does all of that and we’ve built a system that provides a very rich experience that feels personalized, like it’s one to one.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

We ran on revenues for a few years before raising money so we were in a relatively good spot to approach the process. We were able to secure a significant (for us) seed round and found a lot of support in the EdTech space. Owl Ventures led the round and GMG Ventures became a major investor along with a small number of strategic angel investors. The funds were invested in two ways- expanding our team and developing the foundation of what will be a self-service platform launching later this year, in addition to add some important product features that make for a richer user experience.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

My two co-founders are Jacob Lewis and Gene Cohen. Gene is our CTO whose background is in building and managing messaging systems. Jacob is my co-CEO who was an executive at Conde Nast, before starting his own content startup (which he later sold). They both have worked in venture-backed companies before (and together) and have a deep understanding of managing technology (and tech teams). It complements my background working with creative people which brings more of a brand, editorial and design sensibility. They happen to be very funny people which has kept us moving together through all of the ups and downs of startup life.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

The collaboration with creative people who are passionate about their work and supporting their audiences is always energizing for me. After years of being a solopreneur, working with my two co-founders and building a team together has been rewarding in all kinds of ways. The hardest parts are navigating all of the unknowns and always trying to see around corners, but that’s just part of trying to learn how to build something that didn’t exist before. Every new program launch is a thrill and seeing how audiences respond to the experience; closing our seed round was also thrilling.

Can You Share A Couple Of Use Cases With Us Of How Different Creators Or Businesses Use Authoritive To Distribute Content?

Of course. We collaborated with food entrepreneur and award-winning writer Mark Bittman on a program to help people eat less meat. It’s an instructional program that delivers cooking tips and recipes with step by step instructions pushed on demand over sms. Another example is Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas who co-teach a course at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business called Humor Serious Business. We developed a curriculum that helps people use levity as a super power at work that can be delivered over sms but can also be delivered via MS Teams or Slack so companies can make it available to their employees directly where they are already working.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

We started out working with authors primarily and people who have a lot of authority in their fields. So Authoritive was a combination of author and authoritative.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

I’m an early riser. So I get up around 5:30, make coffee and take my dog for a walk before getting kids out the door. I’m at my desk by 8 and each day is a new set of meetings, zoom, writing or other deep work before cutting out around 6:30. I blocked off an hour each day for “lunch” which gives me a space in my day to breathe, take a walk, actually eat. That let’s me re-energize for the second part of the day. I am working on trying to get to bed earlier but am notorious in my family for falling asleep on the couch. No one wants to watch a show with me at this point!

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

The top three qualities that I think helps entrepreneurs succeed are curiosity, empathy, and critical thinking.

The ability to step back and assess situations or problems critically, with curiosity and empathy for the different perspectives present, helps you gather important information in order to make good decisions. It also helps you recover from decisions that didn’t turn out well.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Authoritive?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that everything takes longer than you expect it to so it’s best to just accept that and build it into your models.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You That Taught You An Important Lesson.

When I was starting out, working in publishing, an editor I really looked up to was working with a brilliant but unconventional writer. I asked how he navigated editing such a complicated text. He told a story about the editing that really stuck with me- there was a list of names in the book that he felt was too long for the reader to recall, so he suggested cutting it down to only a few so it would be easier to absorb. When the book was redelivered the list was three times as long. The point wasn’t to recall the names. His job as the editor was to ask the questions, not to solve the problem, so the writer can craft solutions that reflect their intention. I’ve thought about that in mentoring people or managing processes, that my role is not to find the solution to every problem. It’s to ask the right questions.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I read a ton- books, articles, newsletters. I listen to podcasts. I spend time with my kids and husband. I love seeing movies but I’m out of the habit now because of COVID.

Who Is Your Role Model?

My current role model is Alexander Vindman. He lives a life that is principled and loving, courageous and hardworking. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know him and my admiration is even deeper.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“The days are long but the years are short.”

It’s from my friend and longtime collaborator Gretchen Rubin. It is a perfect reminder of the duality of life, both fast and slow, and how important it is to be really present.

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

My kids are both studying US history- high school and middle school level- and it is shocking to see how many issues in the late 1800s are still pervasive issues today. We’re living through a particularly dangerous moment for the world, but we’ve been in dangerous times before and wiser people have prevailed. I’m holding on to my optimism, while working hard to see the world as it is, which is the only way to help make it better.

What Does Success Mean To You?

For me success is about having agency, the ability to choose how I spend my time and what I give my attention to and it means having the resources to support other people reach their potential. We’re not supposed to define success in financial terms, but I find that only people with a lot of money pretend that money doesn’t play a role in how they define success. For me, having started out without it, achieving financial stability was an important part of feeling successful.

  Christy Fletcher’s Favorites Stack:


1. Creativity Inc., by Ed Catmull

2. The Captain Class, by Sam Walker (by my husband, but objectively brilliant)

3. Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath

Health & Fitness:

1. Walking


3. I have a new GoRuck sack I’m going to test out soon.


1. Athleta has the best, softest yoga pants

2. Nili Lotan

3. Me + Em for summer clothes


1. Nespresso

2. Airpods

3. Altoids

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Smartless (podcast)

2. (Peter Yang’s substack)

3. Divinations (by Nathan Bashaw, founder of Every)

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Bermuda

2. Copenhagen

3. Thailand

- What I Found
Andrew Luong | Doorvest


Co-Founder & CEO of Doorvest, a modern, frictionless way to own income generating homes entirely online.

What Is Doorvest? Tell Us All About Your Company And Mission.

90% of the world's millionaires have attributed their wealth to real estate investing, yet homeownership rates have declined to all-time lows. This unfortunate reality is due to the time commitment and friction of the traditional process and the capital barrier due to rising home values, stagnant wages, and mounting student loan debt. Similar to other high-quality assets, everyday investors have been locked out of the #1 most favored investment asset class, real estate. This is why we built Doorvest.

Doorvest is the first end-to-end real estate investment platform with a mission to advance financial security for all via ownership of out-of-state rental properties.

Doorvest lives at the intersection between technology and real estate by providing an all-in-one solution, eliminating the most painful steps for the end customer. We mitigate risk from the customer's perspective by providing extensive renovations to deliver a new home. In addition, we've aligned our pricing with our customers to ensure we're both working towards the same goal: a long-term and successful investment property with a series of guarantees that fosters a stress-free and happy customer.

In traditional real estate investing, the end-to-end timeline is 6 months with at least 26 steps for a customer to comb through. Doorvest does it in 12 steps, half the time. We also emphasize pricing transparency. This means home prices are set to effectively remove the traditional bidding wars and simplify the process overall for old and new homeowners.

In the end, a customer receives a completely renovated home with a first-year rental and maintenance guarantee, an average cash-on-cash return of 6% while still capturing tax and equity advantages that generate passive income from day 1.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Doorvest is an organic embodiment of many of our team's backgrounds. Personally, I grew up middle class. Never truly financially secure, I saw firsthand the downside of financial instability and how it jeopardized my family unit. As I grew up, those memories stuck with me and shaped my path working in sales and partnerships. This led me to real estate investing as an avenue to generate passive income and build a long-term nest egg. I was fortunate enough to build a small portfolio with a small starting capital, and friends around me began to take notice. There was never a singular platform that I could point them towards to make it easier for friends to get started, so Doorvest became the embodiment of that.

The name Doorvest derives from the idea of investors investing in front doors. I do remember a funny story about our name – When I first secured the domain for, someone offered me $500 to buy the domain. At the time, we had no traction and no customers, so I thought this was a funny way to make some extra bucks if the name didn't stick.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Funding varies by round. We've raised close to $18M in equity to date and $25M in debt to fund the real estate part of the business. Most recently, we had our Series A round and that was focused on market expansion and bringing on more awesome team members to support the increased scope of the business. Ultimately, driving growth in the business and growth in new customers/ homeowners.  

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

In the traditional sense, Justin Kasad is my Co-Founder and CTO of Doorvest. The company, however, went through multiple iterations, and every time was a new founding moment. As such, I see all of the team members as co-founders as they played a pivotal role in those times. Moving forward, I imagine having more founding moments as we track down the road to advancing financial security for all.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

This journey - with Doorvest - is the most rewarding thing I've ever attempted in my life. The ability to serve lots and lots of customers and build an excellent work culture that has folks excited to work every day are some of the things I find most rewarding. Seeing our progress so far gives me a lot of optimism for the future ahead. From a challenge standpoint, it depends on the chapter and what's happening worldwide. One of the biggest challenges I dealt with was our 1st round of funding, getting enough cash to get the business off the ground, and it took us 5 months fighting tooth and nail for every dollar. Many times, we didn't think we could get enough cash to get Doorvest off the ground. Recently, one of the most challenging times was ensuring the company is rowing in the same direction, and alignment takes a lot of work.

How Has Recent Housing Supply Shortages Impacted Business For Doorvest? How Has COVID-19 Impacted Doorvest Both In Terms Of Growth Plans As Well As Day-to-day Operations?

In short, this made all of our jobs harder. With the lack of supply, there will be more competition and rising home values that compress customer yield, which ultimately leads to fewer homes that attract customers than before. Such conditions pressed us to be more creative in acquiring homes that would guarantee attraction. We have lots of optimism ahead because the real estate market will soften at some point - meaning less competition and allowing us to offer our customers increasingly higher yields and investments. Our team has managed to combat these challenges by carrying out quick and consistent sprints that are sustainable for the long run. 

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New And Exciting Products Launching Soon?

In 2022 alone, we introduced a home matching algorithm called Doormatch. Doormatch takes customers' investment criteria and automatically matches their preferences to the ideal investment home. We also revamped the path to access Doorvest home profiles and how to easily reserve homes of interest. Most importantly, we expanded into 3 new markets: Atlanta, San Antonio, and recently, Oklahoma City. Be on the lookout for more expansions as we don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

My day starts around 7 in the morning. Get up, meditate, drink some coffee or work out, hit the shower, and get ready for the work day. Work begins around 8:30-9 am and runs until 6:30 pm. Then I log off, grab dinner and rinse and repeat. This schedule varies by day as sometimes I'll do another hour or two in the evenings. But ultimately, my schedule is the same every day for 5 workdays. Fridays and Saturdays are my off days where I intentionally stay away from email and Slack. Initially, I deleted the email app on my phone because I found myself constantly opening emails and scrolling, and there's a mental stimulation that goes on even when I wasn't replying to those emails. On Sundays, I'll work another 2-4 hours to clean up my inbox and give myself a soft start to the week ahead. This routine has given me the right balance to stay energetic, and I believe energy is essential to perform at the highest levels for the long run consistently.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

It's essential to have a strong understanding of your purpose and your "why." There are many ups and downs in startup environments, so having a clear Northstar that you are working towards is critical, especially in downtimes. Also, it's vital to ensure that you and your team are resilient and can handle questions like: How do we, as a team/ as a company, withstand outside conditions? How do we ensure we can consistently build despite changing, uncontrollable circumstances? 

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Doorvest?

It's very, very hard to build a business. There are tactical and psychological learnings, but when outside conditions constantly evolve, and you are working to bring a platform into existence that's never done before, it's inevitably really hard. Many team members would agree. The upside is the magnitude of how rewarding it feels to have brought something to life. 

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Tim Ferriss is the first that comes to mind. Tim Ferriss' books have fundamentally shaped how I view life, work, personal finances, and lifestyle design. 

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

"Your problems never cease, they just change." 

At first glance, the quote sounds morbid with your life having problems consistently. But if you take a step back, challenges/ struggles/ problems are inevitability human life. The disconnect here is people tend to think they live an unhappy life until they get a new shiny car, get a new job, make X amount of money, marry a beautiful spouse, etc., and all of their problems will go away. The reality is as soon as you arrive at those milestones, you will want and face new challenges, and enough will never be enough. The goal is to enjoy the journey vs. the destination. 

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

We are very optimistic about the future despite turbulent market conditions. As mentioned earlier, we have successfully made progress despite many headwinds within a competitive housing market. As the market softens, it’s Doorvest’s chance to play offense and provide customers with more stability in their investments and income streams. And ultimately, build an increasingly bigger business.  

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success means three things for me: 

Success means driving the most meaningful impact for as many people as possible - how can Doorvest create more homeowners and increase the speed of homeownership? How can we partner with our customers as they build their investment portfolios, go on their financial journey to freedom, enter retirement, and live off these income streams? 

Success is our team. How can Doorvest, as a company, also cultivate an environment where members can feel supported and grow? 

Success is building a meaningful business that drives a solid financial return for all of our stakeholders (as we have quite a few investors in the company, and it was intentionally designed as such). 

  Andrew Luong’s Favorites Stack:


1. 4-Hour Week by Tim Ferriss. Topics mentioned in this book has shaped by life

2. Thinking In Bets by Annie Duke. Annie was a professional poker player, and she talks about the psychology of non-binary decisions. What this means is you can make the wrong decision and have the right outcome or you can make the right decision and make the right outcome. The importance here is being able to determine whether or not the decision made at the time was right or not. 

3. Radical Candor by Kim Scott. This book talks about the importance of feedback loops and how to build trusts and deep relationships. Knowledge here can be taken into the workplace and be utilized in life as well. 

Health & Fitness:

1. Ooler Chilipad. I invested a bit in this product- it’s a heating and cooling topper for my bed. It uses heat to help put you to sleep and cools down to bring your body temperature to an ideal temperature for an optimal sleep quality. Then it uses heat again to wake you up in the morning.

2. WHOOP. It tracks my sleep and daily HRV (heart rate variability), particularly what stress does to my HRV over time. It’s really interesting to learn what inputs led to these outputs. For example, don’t drink before you go to bed because they’ll mess up your recover and sleep quality. 

3. Barry's Bootcamp. I do it once a week. It’s fun to do a high intensity interval training, especially when doing with our group at work.


1. Top of mind is Athletic Greens. I don’t usually like to eat a lot of vegetables so this is a great way to check off my daily vitamins and greens intake. 

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. The Tim Ferriss Show

2. The All-In Podcast (covers everything from politics to economy, startups to venture, etc.)

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Up next, I would like to go back to Vietnam. I’ve been there before but it would be great to return with my girlfriend as both of our parents are from there. It’ll be really exciting to have this immersive experience together. 

2. Perhaps sometime next year, I would like to visit Italy. There’s something about the country that feels so idyllic. Renting a convertible and driving the Southern Coast, or renting a boat and enjoy a beautiful day on the lake. 

- What I Found
Steven Zhou | Moov


Co-Founder & CEO of Moov, the fastest growing marketplace for used manufacturing equipment in the world.

What Is Moov? Tell Us All About Your Platform, How It Works, And About The Types Of Companies That Are Your Customers.

At Moov, our goal is to accelerate global manufacturing, R&D, and technological progress by fundamentally improving the supply chain. We are improving the supply chain by making it possible to buy and sell pre-owned manufacturing equipment from any fabrication center in the world in a matter of moments, through our digital marketplace.

Our customers are primarily semiconductor manufacturers, and sometimes equipment refurbishers and brokers. Our customers look to Moov for a trustworthy, reliable, and transparent alternative to the 12-24 month wait times for buying new equipment. We are building a unified global secondary market for supply-chain critical equipment where none exists today – and the historical options for buying used equipment have been plagued with inefficiencies, bad actors, and inaccurate information. With Moov, chipmakers need only to search our global marketplace for the exact tools they need, choose from validated listings from pre-vetted suppliers, purchase their tool, and enjoy an ecosystem of aftermarket service providers to make every aspect of buying equipment - from financing through logistics - seamless.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I’m originally from Los Angeles, studied Economics at University of California, San Diego, and started my career working in M&A focusing on Industrials, Semiconductors, and Aerospace and Defense. I was attracted to the massive economy that underpins all of the technology we take for granted in our everyday lives and decided to focus on the semiconductor industry, specifically semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Prior to Moov, I spent over a decade in the semiconductor industry, holding senior management roles overseeing deal cycles at two asset trading firms. While working in the industry, my co-founder, Maxam Yeung, and I were struck by the antiquated processes used to buy and sell six-figure high tech manufacturing equipment, and the inefficiencies these processes created. In late 2017, we decided to start Moov to bring automation and digitization to the semiconductor manufacturing equipment supply chain.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The honest answer is that I had a vivid dream during the early days, and a cow came out and said “Moooov!” But when I woke up, my co-founder and I realized that “Moov” is also a play on “moving” equipment but also speaks to our culture of getting things done. We’re not just moving equipment – we are growing an entire secondary market, and in doing so, moving an entire industry toward a more sustainable supply chain.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

The most challenging part of my entrepreneurial journey has been learning to say no. Whether it’s an oversubscribed round, a firehose of ideas for our product roadmap, or simply too many appointments on my calendar, I have learned that prioritization is the number one challenge I face as the CEO of a fast-growing company. I have also learned that prioritization is the most critical element to sustainable growth. On the flip side of this coin, hiring rockstars and watching them grow in their roles and help grow Moov in new ways has been one of my favorite parts of the entrepreneurial journey.

One challenging and exciting moment for Moov was relocating our headquarters from San Francisco to greater Phoenix, Arizona in 2020. At the time, we knew the future of semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. was outside of Silicon Valley – in a network of up-and-coming tech hubs across the country. However, relocating is always challenging – we didn’t know what to expect when it came to hiring in the market, office space, the local technology community culture, etc. That said, I can honestly say that moving to Tempe, Arizona was one of the best moves we have made as a company. Not only are we at the center of a burgeoning semiconductor hub, but also I truly believe that the locations like greater Phoenix, and Austin, TX where we just opened an office this year, will continue to attract top-notch talent due to the better quality of life they offer.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

In business, and fundraising, timing is critical. When my co-founder, Max, and I went to raise our seed round, we were ahead of the curve for our industry. Despite being the namesake of Silicon Valley, at the end of 2016 venture capital investment in the semiconductor industry was stagnant, hovering around $1.5bn since 2000 (Pitchbook). As of 2021 year end, that number jumped 400% to $7.8bn.

The primary challenge in raising seed funding was to convince investors of our vision to bring the same data and automation used to drive efficiency across other industries to the semiconductor capital equipment supply chain. We were successful in doing so, and actually ended up having to turn down investors in an oversubscribed round led by NFX with participation by Decent Capital, David Adelman’s Darco Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital, and several notable angel investors. We welcomed a few strategic investors for a bridge round in 2020 including Mark Cuban, and Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg, co-founders of Flatiron Health.

We used our initial funding to bring on great talent, build our platform, and grow our marketplace to over $1 billion in gross merchandise value of listings.

When we went to raise our series A in 2021, the world was in critical need of nimble solutions to combat supply chain disruptions and chip shortages. Although we received several Tier 1 term sheets, we ended up closing $41 million Series A funding led by Tiger Global. Other notable investors included public semiconductor investor Gavin Baker of Atreides Management, Valor Equity Partners, Avenir Growth Fund and existing investors. We used these funds to expand operations both in the US and globally, to further ensure semiconductor manufacturers have access to alternative supply sources for capital equipment.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Anything New And Exciting Launching Soon?

Growth has been exponential over the last year. We recently announced an industry-changing buy-back guarantee policy to de-risk these 6-figure purchases. This is a game-changer for the industry, and the only such policy that exists when buying secondhand equipment. Risk and reliability is the number one barrier to growing the secondary market – with this announcement, Moov is removing that barrier.

How Has COVID-19 And Recent Supply Chain Issues Impacted Your Business And Operation Over The Last Couple Of Years?

When we started Moov in 2017, we knew the semiconductor manufacturing supply chain was broken, but we did not predict the global chip shortages that have plagued our industry for the past year and show no sign of abating. Supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and natural disasters coupled with a surge in end market demand has created a global chip shortage, the likes of which the world has never experienced. These events serve to underscore the dire need for more flexible sourcing options for semiconductor manufacturing equipment. We started Moov to add transparency, accountability, and reliability to the secondary market for manufacturing equipment, and in doing so, help ease barrier to entry for small to midsize manufacturers, allow manufacturers to more nimbly respond to global trends, and promote the recirculation of equipment to support environmentally sustainable manufacturing – these goals are even more relevant and critical today than they were 5 years ago.

Moov has hundreds of buyers and sellers, yet there are still roughly 10 million factories globally with unmet equipment needs and surplus equipment for sale. Recent supply chain disruptions and a global chip shortage have only served to accelerate our growth.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

Lately, it is hard to think of my days as “typical” since I’ve been doing a lot of traveling between our booming headquarters in Phoenix, our brand new office in Austin, TX, and Northern and Southern California, the location of several industry partners, employees, and investors.

When I’m not catching a flight, my day usually begins with a double espresso shot and a morning workout. I’m a big believer in “healthy body, healthy mind”, so I try to make exercise a part of my daily routine no matter how busy I am. I tend to optimize my mornings toward execution-heavy tasks and deadlines, and tackle creative or strategic thinking in the afternoon.

The role of a CEO is really that of Chief Enabler. I spend a significant chunk of each day in listening mode, getting feedback from my talented colleagues across the company, and identifying ways I can remove roadblocks to their success.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Adaptability, Humility, and Drive.

Advice for entrepreneurs just starting out:

Think about value creation in every interaction you have. Whether you’re hiring employees, raising funds, securing customers or partners, you’ll never go wrong if you approach engagements from a mindset of creating mutual benefit.

Surround yourself with people you trust. Then trust them. As a founder, it’s both incredibly hard and incredibly important to take a step back. In the early days, you will wear every hat for your company. You will set the product roadmap, you will be the chief marketer, you’ll be at every sales meeting, be involved in every deal. You will be a graphic designer, an accountant, heck you’ll even be the office maintenance manager and sometimes IT consultant. Now repeat after me: this won’t scale. An important part of growth is bringing in new talent, new ideas, and trusting the people you hire can do the roles you hired them for better than you can.

Perfection is the enemy of progress. As an entrepreneur, it’s likely someone has already quoted Winston Churchill to you, but it’s time to listen. At Moov, we use the 80/20 rule as a general barometer for problem solving. Solve 80% of the problem now, and the rest will come with time and iteration. I can tell you first hand that if we had worried about perfection at Moov, we would not have grown from zero to a marketplace with over $1bn in GMV in under four years.

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

The impact of growing a secondary market for capital equipment cannot be understated – doing so will help solve global supply chain shortages, create jobs in manufacturing hubs across the U.S., and contribute to a more environmentally sustainable high tech manufacturing industry.

As a company, Moov contributes to a more environmentally sustainable manufacturing industry – saving ~1MM lbs of scrap from hitting landfills or sitting idle in warehouses every year. Recirculation of capital equipment is an achievable and important part of the circular economy.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success, for me and for Moov, means creating something that the world truly needs. At Moov, we don’t use words like disruption because our intention is not to interrupt an industry, but instead to use our humble listening skills, our own experiences in the industry, and the technology we’ve built to create value for our partners and customers. Success, for us, means that every decision we make creates value for all parties involved.

“Changing the world” is an often satirized goal of Silicon Valley founders. But, at Moov, global impact has a very specific meaning. Our goal is to accelerate global manufacturing, R&D, and technological progress by fundamentally improving the supply chain. We are improving the supply chain by making it possible and easy to buy and sell pre-owned equipment from any fabrication center in the world in a matter of moments. When we succeed, our success won’t be localized to Silicon Valley, to the United States, to North America, but will truly drive forward global trade and innovation.

This, for me personally and for Moov as a company, is the meaning of success.

- What I Found
Monish Sabnani | Courant


Co-Founder of Courant, a company that creates beautiful tech accessories that seamlessly integrate into your home and surrounding life.

What Is Courant? Tell Us All About Your Brand, Mission, And Product Selection.

Courant is a design-forward electronics brand with a focus on wireless charging. We create beautiful phone charging accessories that seamlessly integrate into your home and surrounding life. Each product form is designed to be effortless in use and aesthetically pleasing.

We launched in 2018 and have 3 core product forms: CATCH:1, a single-device charger; CATCH:2, a multi-device charger; and CATCH:3, a valet tray charger. We’ve also created two unique collections of materials: our “Classics” collection which features Italian leather and high-grade aluminum, and our “Essentials” collection, which comes with Belgian linen and soft-touch plastic.

Our goal is to power your life and the devices you use most.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Evan (Co-founder) & I met back in 2017 at a consumer goods platform & incubator called “Very Great”. This was an interesting time because the 2 founders of Very Great were looking to expand their portfolio of brands. Together we all got excited about the electronics category, and in particular the trend of wireless phone charging which was starting to emerge across Apple and Samsung products. At the time the technology was incredibly exciting, but there were no brands or really any products that spoke to today’s modern, digitally savvy consumer. The existing marketplace of products were made of plastic, didn’t have a color story, and really no brand appeal whatsoever. At the end of 2017, we began researching opportunities and discovered a wide-open landscape in the wireless charging category to launch Courant into.

We launched Courant’s first two products (CATCH:1 and CATCH:3) in August 2018 at the NY Now tradeshow and have since grown into an eight-figure business. A few weeks after the launch we were prominently featured in Oprah’s “Favorite Things” and Gwenyth Paltrow’s “Goop” holiday gift guides, which really gave us an opportunity to shine on a national level. From there we started building the business, brick by brick. Today, Courant’s products are widely distributed online and in-store at retailers such as West Elm, CB2, Design Within Reach, Best Buy, Bed Bath Beyond, Container Store and more. It’s been an exciting journey!

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

I was raised in Hong Kong with a background in Chinese manufacturing, which my family has been involved in for over thirty years. Evan’s expertise is largely in brand operations for consumer product companies. He calls me the left brain and him the right brain. I mainly oversee our e-comm, marketing & brand, product development and finance. He focuses mostly on sales, international operations, warehousing and legal. By having diversified backgrounds and skill sets we’re able to balance each other out and supplement each other in a way that makes our business stronger. 

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The name Courant comes from ‘Au Courant’, a French saying that means “in the know” or “up to speed on current trends”—or literally ‘current’—which is both a reference to an object being relevant to the times as well as an electrical current. We wanted something literal, but not clunky or ‘techy’.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

The last few years have truly been so interesting from a macro perspective. COVID in particular was something that we could have never prepared for, especially this early in our career. It came with a multitude of challenges: supply chain disruptions, chip shortages, freight price volatility, labor shortages in the US, and the list goes on…It was (and still is) a steep learning curve on both a professional and personal level. It’s funny, we started off with a mission to create a unique electronics brand, and today we are crisis-level experts on supply chain. I’ve learned all kinds of things that I never expected to. That really is the beauty of the experience. On the flip side, the challenges are taking in all this new information and dealing with it in-real time, at a high-stakes level.

Can You Share Some Insight As To Your Design And Manufacturing Process? What Makes Courant Unique Amongst The Competing Wireless Charging Products On The Market?

We design all of our products in-house, drawing inspiration from interior design concepts and materials used for home accessories like side tables, couches and lamps. We look at everything we do, whether it’s product design, web design, and photo/video styling as an opportunity to stand outside of the traditional ‘consumer electronics’ industry aesthetic. Courant’s design DNA, at its core, is the intersection of technology, interior-design, fashion and “culture”, which we define as modern trends and social movements.

Principal to our product design and development is material selection. We’ve created a layered supply-chain that involves producing materials from both Italy and Belgium, which then get shipped and assembled in China. Our linen supplier is 100% carbon neutral and uses solar power as the primary driver to their facility. Our leather supplier is “Gold-rated”, which is a standard tracking energy and water consumption, as well as worker safety. It’s all very modern and adds extra layers of complexity (and cost), but it is key to what we’re doing. Most tech companies at our scale build products with cheap components, leaving consumers with products that quickly become physically and aesthetically obsolete. We have honed in on aspects such as design, but combine them with modern manufacturing to create products that we ourselves are comfortable with and want to use.

Any New And Exciting Products Launching Soon?

We’re launching our first few magnetic chargers later this summer. The magnetic chargers are very exciting for us as it’s our first foray into a new user experience to pair with Apple’s MagSafe phones (iPhone 12 onwards). We believe this will be the new charging standard for several years and have spent almost 2 years developing our magnetic collection. 

How Has COVID-19 And Recent Supply Chain Issues Impacted Your Business And Operation Over The Last Couple Of Years?

COVID-19 brought on widespread supply chain lock downs and disruption, which meant that we needed to be as flexible and agile as possible in order to survive. The chip shortage of 2020-21 in particular was a big issue for us. We were presented the situation back in March of 2021, which was that our core chip component lead time was going from 1 month to 6 months. We moved quickly to purchase a year's worth of chips upfront and hold stock. As I reflect on that time, we were fortunate to have the advantage of being a small team, which allowed us to make decisions quickly, rather than having to deal with the time-consuming process of a larger corporate hierarchy structure. We also had the financial support of the wider Very Great platform which enabled us to make swift and bold business moves, which might have been too risky otherwise. It’s moments like that which allowed us to sustain and grow our business despite the challenges that COVID-19 threw our way.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tips You Have For Staying Productive?

We’re both fully remote, which is something we’ve both come to love over time. The mornings and afternoons are typically pretty heavy on calls, i.e. touchbases with the team, working sessions, talking to different vendors and partners. It’s usually in the evening when we both get some down time to work in silence and put our heads down to focus on bigger picture planning. I love the night session - it really is the most productive time for me.

Tips? Honestly, something we’ve come to lean into is that the standard “9-6” work life at a desk is completely over. Everyone has a unique life filled with different responsibilities and priorities. We empower each other and our team to integrate work and life so that they can thrive off of flexibility, not restriction. If you have to make an appointment at 2pm on Monday, please do. We’re both integrating our life and work into one lifestyle, 7 days a week. There is no pressure to be “online” all day. This is a huge unlock and allows us to work on our personal life as much as our professional life.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Perseverance - the road ahead is tough and not for the faint hearted. The #1 thing I’ve learned is to put your head down and push through. The hard work that most people avoid is often the beauty of the job.

Equanimity - Don’t get too high during the highs, and don’t get too low during the lows. Find a cool, calm middle ground and operate in that bubble.

Read, a lot - to quote Charlie Munger: “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn't read all the time -- none, zero. You'd be amazed at how much Warren reads--and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I'm a book with a couple of legs sticking out.” There is no better way to absorb information than reading.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

Getting direct personal feedback on my communication skills both professionally and personally has really helped me grow. Sometimes we don’t want to hear our truth because it is uncomfortable and hurtful. But when you can actively take feedback and grow from your peers I think that is a huge advantage. There is so much to learn about communication skills. I also try to give feedback to the people I care about.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Tim Cook - 1) because Apple is my favorite company of all time and has been since I was a teenager, and 2) because I’d love to personally introduce him to what we’re doing over at Courant.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I would have to share two: Barack Obama, for his grace, and Kobe Bryant, for his work ethic. Both are (were) also incredible parents to their kids, which I have the utmost respect for when you have had the careers that they did.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I love to go for long walks with a podcast in-ear, play basketball, surf in the summers and read as much as possible. What I read: autobiographies (if you have a cool story I want to know about it), and a lot of newsletters, blogs and Twitter threads. I also have a particular interest in web3/blockchain and find everything being built in that space incredibly fascinating. One of my best friends is a partner at Andreesen Horowitz and I’m constantly bugging him with questions. 

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“The journey is the reward” - Steve Jobs

We often work so hard towards an end goal and wind up missing everything in between. I really believe that life is not about the big moments, but all the little, unforgettable moments. If you can celebrate the small wins and appreciate the most mundane of tasks I think you’ll find the ultimate happiness. 

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

There’s obviously a lot going on right now between inflation, US & China relations, and the crisis in Ukraine. Fundamentally we are the type of people to play the long game. While it’s easy to get frantic over the day-to-day news cycle, we’re very bullish on the future of everything. If that core belief ever changed I would radically change what I was doing on a daily basis. I probably would not be in business. 

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success = flexibility. All too often we want to do things but are restricted. I’ll know I’m successful when I have the ultimate decision making ability to do most things (within reason), whether that be personally or professionally.

  Monish Sabnani’s Favorites Stack:


1. No Rules Rules- Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix) on how to build an innovative, disruptive corporate culture

2. Dreams From My Father - Barack Obama’s origin story, written pre politics

3. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike- Phil Knight’s founding story of Nike. A must read for all entrepreneurs

Health & Fitness:

1. Steps, every day. I aim for 8-10K

2. Strength training - I try to get 2 full body workouts in a week

3. Basketball - Pickup in Brooklyn, as much as I can


1. Lululemon pants have totally replaced jeans in my life. I wear them everyday

2. Stance long compression stocks 

3. Hoodies, all the time


1. AirPods Pro

2. Lululemon Black Pants

3. Trader Joes Milk Chocolate Pretzels (!)

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Leanluxe & 2PM (Ecomm newsletters)

2. All-In Podcast (General macro news & investing)

3. How I Built This (Founder-driven, entrepreneurial storytelling podcast)

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Hawaii surf trip

2. Tel Aviv

3. Buenos Aires

4. Cape Town

- What I Found
Casey Klugman | Les Monts


Founder of Les Monts, a new luxury handcrafted sunglasses company.

What Is Les Monts? Tell Us All About Your Brand, Mission, And Product Selection.

I’ve always had an affinity for handmade goods. To me, there’s warmth that emanates from handmade goods. They have subtle imperfections which make them unique – something you don’t necessarily get from mass-produced products. In light of this affinity, I wanted Les Monts to be a handmade, limited-edition collection. Utilizing an array of handpicked, highly considered materials, Les Monts frames are brought to life by the hands of experienced Italian craftsmen who take great pride in their work.

Les Monts is geared towards creative individuals – specifically those who push the creative boundaries in their respective fields. However, the brand recognizes any individual in pursuit of a lofty personal goal. In French, Les Monts means “the mountains”. As the brand’s namesake, mountains serve as a reminder that good things, like a journey towards a personal goal or the production of our handmade goods themselves, take time to develop. And, while the journey to reach that goal may prove fickle, there is often great value to be found at the finish line. Each of our limited-edition spectacles is a testament to those who have been fearless in their personal endeavors; and, to those who are at the beginning of their journey, a pair can ignite the courage to take that next step.

I think today more than ever, it’s important for a brand to have genuine purpose and good intentions. Throughout my life, there have been a number of important people who have at some point, in some capacity, struggled with their mental health. There are times when I haven’t been in the best headspace, too. So, my decision to partner with Mental Health America was one which came quite naturally. I wanted to honor anybody who has ever been affected by a mental health condition – directly or indirectly. This partnership is important to the brand as anything else. My hope is that Les Monts can transcend traditional brand ideologies, and become a beacon of optimism that inspires.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I was born in New Jersey in the early 90s. My late grandfather, who was a dentist and an amateur artist himself, got me involved in art at a very young age. From elementary school through high school, art was the one subject I really excelled in. At some point in junior high school, I developed an interest in fashion. It started with sneakers - I was collecting “Nike Dunks” at the time. Like eyewear, footwear can tell a story about the person wearing it - I still love that about footwear. As my affinity for sneaker culture grew, I began illustrating sneaker designs and concepts of my own. I had sketchbooks full of illustrations. But, before I left to study Art & Design at the University of Michigan, my father – who I am very close with – gifted me a pair of his vintage sunglasses. For me it was the ultimate heirloom. I cherished these sunglasses – I admired everything about them. From that day forward, I was no longer illustrating sneakers, I was illustrating eyewear. I graduated from University of Michigan – School of Art & Design in the spring of 2014. Shortly thereafter, I accepted a job to design eyewear for Ted Baker. It was an amazing opportunity, and the job I held for five years. But, in the back of my head, I knew my ultimate goal was to one day have my own collection. In October of 2020, I decided the time was “now” and resigned from my day-job. Since then, I’ve been working on bringing my own brand to market, and that vision recently became reality. My brand, Les Monts, went live on April 20th of this year.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

One of the coolest parts about starting your own brand is you get to decide what story you want to tell through your products. If there’s a group of people you want to empower, or a cause you’d like to raise awareness for, all of those choices are yours. My late grandmother was born and raised in rural France. Unfortunately, she passed away when I was about 13 years old – long before she and I had the chance to connect on an adult level. There’s a lot happening in my life right now. I’ve just started a business, my girlfriend and I recently moved in together; there are so many conversations I wish I could have with her today. So, I decided to give my brand a French name, to pay homage to my late grandmother. As I mentioned earlier the mountains serve as a reminder that good things, like a journey towards a personal goal or the production of our wearables themselves, take time to develop. And, while the journey to reach that goal may prove fickle, there is often great value to be found at the finish line.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

I think what I’ve enjoyed most about this journey is the creative freedom it’s afforded me. I was designing for another brand for 5 years. During that time, I didn’t have full creative freedom. I had to adhere to the vision of another brand. Having the creative freedom to execute my own design vision, and tell a story through my brand has been completely invigorating.

The most challenging part of the journey, and the component I struggled with most, occurred during the first few months on my own. At my former employer, I rarely had downtime in the office. There were many days I’d go into work, put my head down, and not lift it until 6:30pm. I kind of liked that - it always made the day go faster, plus I’d feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. My first few months of self-employment proved to be a major adjustment period. I had to accept to the fact that things were going to move a lot slower – at least initially. Naturally, a project like this takes time to develop. So, going from a very fast-paced environment, to the slow-burning, very early stages of a start-up, was a challenge for me.

The most exciting part of my work has always been receiving samples or the final product. I have a tremendous respect and appreciation for excellent craftsmanship. The craftsmen I work with in Italy are extraordinarily talented. Their handcrafted products are beautifully made. When I receive their products for the first time, there’s a moment of admiration – almost like seeing a piece of art. It’s a moment that never gets old.

Can You Share Some Insight As To Your Design And/or Manufacturing Process? What Makes Les Monts Frames Stand Out Above The Rest?

I think there are two philosophies when it comes to designing and manufacturing. The first is probably the most common – especially in the realm of corporate fashion. This process consists of designing a product, and then modifying it to meet, or increase margin. The other philosophy is the approach I’ve taken with Les Monts. When I started out, I had a vision for what I wanted to produce. Based on my previous work experience, I knew the product I wanted to create would be expensive and require a great deal of expertise to produce. Rather than water down my vision, I said to the factory, “This is the product I want to make. These are the details; these are the materials I want to use. Please let me know how much it will cost to produce a pair, and I’ll figure out what I need to sell it for.” I think if you believe in your product, this is the approach that makes sense. At the end of the day, you want to bring your idea to life. You don’t want to bring 50% of an idea to life. Les Monts spectacles incorporate over 200 steps, and can take nearly a half year to produce. We only produce 100 pieces or less of a given style – which is an extremely limited amount. Many factories will not agree to produce quantities that small. Once a style is sold out, it is no longer produced. We place a very heavy emphasis on the handcrafted nature of our frames; it’s what makes our glasses a cut above the rest. However, the true beauty of a Les Monts frame comes from the fact that it is an imperfect object. When you produce things by hand, there are inherent differences from piece to piece. These differences or imperfections are virtually undetectable to the naked eye, but it’s part of what makes a Les Monts frame an object to be desired. Our frames are not mass-produced objects, cold off of an assembly line. They have a warmth and a story to tell.

Tell Us About Your Go-to Market Strategy. Do You See Les Monts Being Exclusively Sold Online, Or Also Launching Retail Stores Similar To Warby Parker?

For the moment, I am direct to consumer through However, I will be working hard on getting Les Monts into select stores in the coming months. I’ve designed for other brands in the past. In my honest opinion, Les Monts eyewear looks and feels distinctly different from other eyewear. Because of this, it’s very important that customers have the ability to pick up my products and experience them in person. There’s so much value in that experience. All of our frames are produced in very small quantities, so our eyewear will likely be placed in boutiques and maybe one select retailer. Stay tuned!

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tricks You Use To Stay Productive?

During the week I go to sleep late - around 12:30-1:00am. Because of that, I typically wake-up around 8:20am. I love sleeping in, but that’s about as late as I can sleep during the week. Because I’m communicating with my partners in Italy on a daily basis, and there’s a +6 hour time difference, I can’t afford to sleep past 8:30am. Once, I wake up – it’s an immediate cup of coffee. I then sit at my desk and take care of all urgent emails – prioritizing the emails that are affected by a time difference. Once urgencies are out of the way, I’ll make the bed, shower, and listen to sports talk radio, namely, The Dan Patrick Show. Then it’s back to work until around 12:45, at which point I take my dog for a walk. Then it’s back to work for the rest of the day. I like to get a Peloton session in at the end of the day to clear my head, though admittedly, I’ve been bad about it lately. I do find that it clears my head, even if I get on the bike for 15-20 minutes at the end of the day. For me, the best way I know to stay productive is by setting goals. I like to set goals by the day, week, and month. By constantly setting goals, and hopefully meeting those goals, I feel accomplished and hungry when I wake up each day.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Flexibility - Flexibility is key. Today, the world is changing more rapidly than ever before. As an entrepreneur, it’s never been more important to stay flexible and adaptive. For creative endeavors, the importance of flexibility cannot be underestimated. Rigidity can quickly kill a brand and a product. So, listen to feedback and don’t be afraid to pivot. Let your concepts evolve!

Decisiveness - More is lost by indecision than the wrong decision. When you’re starting out, you’re probably going to make the wrong decision more than once. That’s ok – especially if you’re able to learn from your mistakes. In my experience, indecision always has a more negative impact than a wrong decision. You can take time to make a big decision, but be mindful of how much time you have and then make your decision – don’t prolong it.

Patience - Good things take time to come to fruition. That’s a big part of the branding behind Les Monts. Building a business requires persistence, endurance and patience. It takes a lot of time and effort. So, it’s natural to want results right away – but that’s rarely the case. While you want to remain on top of things, being is key to keeping you emotionally grounded in your project.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

There’s an important lesson I’ve learned, actually from loved ones who have passed away. The lesson teaches us that our time here is limited, so we need to spend it doing what we love. I’ll use my late grandmother for example, who, by the way, is part of the inspiration for the name Les Monts. My grandmother, Jo, absolutely adored her grandchildren. Nothing brought her more joy than spending time with us. Sadly, my grandmother fell ill, and passed away before she was able to see her grandchildren reach adulthood. Impermanence is a reminder our time is limited, and we never know when “our time” is going to come. When faced with one of life’s many difficult decisions, I like to think of Jo telling me to go for it. In my experience, knowing that my time is limited sometimes makes those difficult decisions a lot easier.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

My top choice would have to be Sir Paul McCartney. I’ve always been inspired by his colorful personality and creative energy. Amazingly, I think Paul still fits the profile of my customer. He’s highly creative and he’s produced music capable of moving emotion. Great music is so powerful. Great music can inspire change, motivate you to start your own business, it can move you to tears and then build you back up. For as long as I can remember, the Beatles’ music has done for me. That’s what I want Les Monts to do for my customer. If my products become a wearable symbol of creativity, or if my brand makes people more comfortable discussing mental health conditions, it will mean that Les Monts has impacted people in an emotional context. That’s my ultimate goal. Since his music has positively and emotionally affected so many people for such an extended period of time, there’s nobody I’d rather meet with than Sir Paul.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I take a lot of inspiration from Philippe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between the original World Trade towers. He was so focused on his craft and passionate about the process just as much about the outcome. He woke up everyday and ‘got on his wire’, whether it was 2 feet off the ground, or 2,000 feet off the ground. His attention to detail allowed him to perform an act for which the consequence of a single mistake was death. We very rarely engage in activities when a single mistake is certain death. If Philippe has made a misstep above the World Trade Towers, there’s no surviving that fall. While I don’t want to be punished with death for each mistake I make doing the thing I love, I find the clarity to be beautiful in my own relationship to my craft. I highly recommend Man on Wire, watched through the lens of a metaphor and as performance art. 

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I’m an artist by trade, so in my free time I love to paint. Painting is a process that has always been extremely cathartic for me. There’s nothing better than putting on music and getting lost in my work for hours. Left to my own devices, I think I would paint straight through the night. For me, it’s the type of hobby I can’t put down after I start. My painting style is very graphic and rather unconventional. If you’re familiar with Banksy, that’s kind of what my paintings look like – though they’re hand-painted rather than spray painted.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

The late Steve Jobs made an outstanding commencement speech at the University of Stanford in 2005. In his address to the graduating class, Jobs says:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path — and that will make all the difference”.

There is so much power in this quote, because it’s delivered by Jobs shortly after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Conscious of his mortality, Jobs’ words are a uniquely intimate retrospective. His quote suggests that it’s impossible to know whether a decision we make today will yield the results we want tomorrow. Therefore, the best way to persist in the face of doubt is by putting your trust in whatever you personally believe in. Doing so will give you confidence to follow your heart in difficult decisions, even when doubt or uncertainty are pulling you in the opposite direction.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Since starting this project, I’ve noticed a direct correlation between success and happiness. Though, the relationship I see is probably different from what most people would expect. There’s the obvious “Success = Financial Prosperity = Happiness”. I cannot confirm if that’s true. But, I have discovered a different dynamic between success and happiness, which is true for me. At this point in my life, I’m happier with my work than I’ve ever been before. I love what I’m doing – it brings me great joy. I’ve realized that in order for me to continue doing what I love, my business needs to be successful. While the meaning of success can change over time, right now, success to me means an opportunity to continue doing what I love.

  Casey Klugman’s Favorites Stack:


1. Emotionally Durable Design, by Jonathan Chapman

2. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight

3. Open: An Autobiography, by Andre Agassi

Health & Fitness:

1. Peloton

2. Pick-up football with friends

3. Pick-up basketball with friends


1. Reiss

2. Theory

3. Nike


1. Nespresso

2. iMac

3. Dyson Air Purifier

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. How I Built This with Guy Raz

2. The Herd with Colin Cowherd

3. The Dan Patrick Show

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Southern Italy

2. Paris

3. Japan

- What I Found
Brandon Schulz | Violet

Brandon Schulz

Founder of Violet, a Commerce API Platform enabling any app to integrate universal checkout in weeks instead of years.

What Is Violet? Tell Us All About Your Platform, How It Works, And The Types Of Companies That Use Your Services.

Violet is a unified API that allows any online channel (be it an app, a website, a game, or live stream) to connect to a brand or retailer's ecommerce backend without the need for expensive and complex integrations. We call it a “unified API” because our mission is to provide integration with any e-commerce platform through a single, unified API. So whether you’re an online influencer looking to get more purchases directly through your platform, or you’re a brand who wants to sell through more channels, all you’ll need is this API. It’s great for shoppers too because they can purchase from anywhere on the internet, with no clickout. 

Right now we’ve built integrations into leading e-commerce platforms, and are working with a wide range of customers who are creating new and exciting online experiences: influencer platforms, publishers, online shopping marketplaces. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

While Rhen and I started Violet in 2017, I’ve more or less been trying to solve the same problem for over a decade. The question driving my career has always been the same: how can we create a more open, distributed, and collaborative version of e-commerce? Specifically, what would it take for shoppers to be able to buy products directly inside social, livestream, SMS, voice, AR, VR, or any other experience developers and app companies decide to build? I happen to think the answer is Violet, but it took a while to get there.

In 2012, I co-founded a company that was basically a Hootsuite but for e-commerce products. I learned a lot on the job through that project, about how to fundraise, build a good team, talk to investors. That’s also where I first met Rhen Zabel, our Co-Founder and CTO, and Tyler Middleton, our Head of Growth. But e-commerce wasn’t mature enough for something like Violet to work.

After that, I worked for a few other larger companies in retail, and really grew as a manager and a leader. But I never stopped thinking about how to solve the problem of distributed e-commerce. Rhen was in a similar position, tackling related issues for larger companies. At each step of the way, we realized no one was solving the infrastructure layer. Eventually we just realized we had to build it ourselves once and for all and offer it as a platform.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

The concept is a little science-y, but it’s based on the color spectrum: violet is the last visible color of light that we can see with the human eye. There are a bunch of different kinds of light waves beyond that, some of which we can see under an ultraviolet light, but violet is the last color you see and touch before you reach a realm of rather magical and unbelievable possibilities.

That’s exactly how our product works: we’re the last interface or infrastructure you see when conducting e-commerce at the edge: and what you see is very simple, elegant and intuitive. But what’s behind that, the backend and coordination and artistry that’s making this very simple, intuitive purchase experience possible remains invisible. You can feel it’s impact in how your purchase experience (or merchant or channel experience) improves, but what you see and interact with is Violet.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

My Co-Founder is Rhen Zabel, an amazing engineer and innovator who I’ve known for over a decade now. Rhen and I actually share a birthday down to the year (same exact xx/xx/xxxx), which from the beginning felt like a very auspicious sign for how well we’d work together. I love working with Rhen for so many reasons: he’s a brilliant problem solver, and has been coding since he was 12 or 13. So it’s like getting a 20-year engineer still early in his career. He’s also just a very thoughtful person, very passionate about the environment, obsessed with sci-fi. So working with him on one level is easy just because I like him so much as a person.

As a colleague, he brings a lot to the table that compliments what I can do: our product already skews technical, but Rhen is the engineering genius behind our product. He’s incredibly discerning with his words, and has predilections to a certain type of intelligence and long-term focus that are really rare. He keeps me grounded, and is the one ensuring that we’re actually building the product I’m imagining. I often like to say that I’m driving the train, but Rhen’s the one laying the track.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?


Working with Rhen Zabel: Rhen and I have known each other for over ten years now. It’s so gratifying to build something you believe in with someone who is equally passionate and exceedingly skilled. 

Acquiring new skills at a 10x pace: You can’t not learn rapidly when you’re building your own company. It’s been 4+ years of this and it’s been really fun and invaluable in my own development. I also think that kind of learning is helping our team stay engaged.

Building teams: There’s nothing more exciting than finding people who share in your vision but bring something new to the table. It’s been the best part of the new year by far. 

Making it real: Seeing an idea that I wrote on a whiteboard in middle of 2017 finally come to fruition 4 years later…it’s my ultimate definition of success.

Seeing customers use the API and grow their businesses on it: We’ve had so many meetings with customers where they say something to the effect of “This is the exact solution I’ve been looking for. This can’t be real…” Which is exactly what we love to hear! That’s incredibly affirming and motivating as we keep having more of those conversations, and ultimately seeing our customers succeed. 

The amazing people that I’ve gotten to meet along the way: Fellow founders, investors, new teammates.

The boost from fantastic VCs: Feels so great to meet people who believe in you who are willing to invest in your idea, your dream.


Being at the mercy of timing: Building something very close to my dream product 4 years ahead of time meant a long wait and long slog to build with Rhen. 

Doubt: The years of people not believing in us, resulting in self-doubt and lonely nights.

The drag from bad VCs: Being misunderstood or underestimated for what we were capable of as a team and a product.

Uphill climb: Our product comes out of a really deep understanding and love for the behind the scenes of e-commerce. We had to lay the groundwork over and over again to explain our product, as the market and understanding of the landscape took years to catch up to where we already were.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Funding was really terrible, until it wasn’t. We really wanted to raise from a VC firm in Seattle, where we’re from. But we didn’t take into account geographical priors and general market structure in Seattle when we set out to do that. So we got no’s from nearly every VC in Seattle. But that work just meeting with everyone eventually paid off, and once we started meeting with the right people it turned around very quickly. After we met the team at RSV (Red Sea Ventures) we then got introduced to Brian Sugar, who introduced us to Lachy Groom. And it just snowballed really beautifully from there to where we had about 45 VCs all showing a high amount of interest, to the point where our seed round was oversubscribed by about $2M. We narrowed it down to the right team, and just 90 days later Klarna made a big strategic investment to speed our growth and lead our Series A.

Since then, we’ve been focused on updating and accelerating our growth strategy quite a bit. Most of our investment now has gone towards automating processes to save time, and building a world class team. Of course there are still features and improvements we’re making to our product all the time, but right now it’s about how we can scale the excellent API we’ve worked hard to build, and reaching all the communities of potential customers we know are out there.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New Products Launching Soon?

Despite the learning curve with hiring, the growth has been phenomenal. It’s been such an exciting year for us. What’s really fun for us is every launch of our product is really someone else’s launch: we get to watch all kinds of online channels and experiences kick off something new in their business. We have one client in particular in stealth right now that we’ve just loved getting to work with. If you come back to us in Q2 we can share some more info there.

But really we’re seeing the reality we envisioned come to life, which is new ways for people to purchase at the edge, with more and more startups expanding into live and curated shopping in lots of new and interesting ways.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Violet?

Many people will tell you that recruiting is the hardest thing you’ll do when you’re starting out. And it’s even harder than they say it is.

I think for some new companies recruiting is hard because of sourcing and closing. We’re fortunate not to have that problem: we find people easily and once they’re in the funnel they’re usually excited to join.

BUT, recruiting does put a huge crunch on our bandwidth. In many ways it’s much harder to go from four to 40 people than it is to go from 40 to 400. I’d tell anyone just starting out that the moment you need to hire more than 15 people, hire a recruiter. I wish someone had said that to me, it would’ve saved a lot of headaches.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business Both In Terms Of Growth Plans As Well As Day-To-Day Operations? Has The Pandemic Fueled Demand For Violet As More And More Merchants Lean On E-Commerce As Their Main Sales Channel?

COVID has had a huge impact on our business. As most people know just from surviving lockdowns, e-commerce was an industry that did very well in the pandemic. It definitively proved its utility, convenience, and potential. Every company and merchant was forced to prioritize e-commerce, basically compressing what might have been a decade of changes to infrastructure and business models in just 12 months. So what we have now is really the landscape Violet was made to serve, where you have old systems, new systems, incumbents, start-ups all trying to figure out how to sell products in this new marketing landscape. In a marketplace of millions of vendors, how do you get traction? Targeted, direct-to-consumer advertising can only get you so far, especially as regulations are changing to protect privacy. So that’s where our tool becomes vital circuitry in the new distributed model of e-commerce. As we’ve hit our stride with funding, finding customers, and growing our team, it’s proving to be a really exciting moment to be in e-commerce.

How Do You Think Your Industry (Or The World In General) Will Change Post-COVID?

E-commerce has changed significantly during and post-COVID, if we can say that at this point. While we stayed at home, everyone hopped on their computer and bought everything online. We felt this in the out-of-stock notices on websites. We felt this in the three months I waited to get the couch that I purchased. We felt this in the dramatic increase in prices corporations were able to leverage due to the product shortage.

Before the pandemic, e-commerce was still only about 15% of all retail purchases globally. That number increased dramatically, resulting in an acceleration of e-commerce penetration by anywhere from six to ten years. This means that reliance on e-commerce has increased more rapidly than anyone had expected. As a result, the pressure on the underlying infrastructure of e-commerce has increased, revealing the gaps in the ecosystem broadly, as well as in the individual platforms themselves.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tricks You Use To Stay Productive?

I’m a big believer that we are the things we do repetitively, and don’t really buy into “tricks” for productivity. Instead, I just keep my life very goal-focused, almost treating my own output like I would a product with OKRs: What do I want to accomplish? By when? How can I measure success, and how can I fit those measurements and goals to reasonable time horizons? That may feel a bit on the nose, but it’s how I stay on task.

If I were to recommend a productivity hack, I think it’d be self-compassion. We think of high performers as being hard on themselves, but usually the very best athletes and musicians hold themselves to high standards by default, and the hard work is in understanding how to be kind to themselves and others.

All that said, in addition to work every day I make sure to focus on my mornings:

Wake before 6am

Peloton for 30 min

Stretch for 30 min

Meditate for 20 Min

Journal for 20 Min

These daily routines keep me grounded, energized, and focused on what really matters. 

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

I don’t think it’s as much about what qualities you have as it is about how you approach being an entrepreneur. So many entrepreneurs today just want to immediately go out there and start a company for the sake of starting a company. I don’t recommend this. Instead, I recommend new entrepreneurs go work somewhere else first, and find the problem they’re most passionate about at that company. Too many people just start things without first understanding their space inside and out. But if you start with the problem you really care about, and learn as much as you can about that problem, you’ll know the biggest pain points for your potential customers and build by far the most compelling companies. This only happens when you’re solving real, concrete problems for people and businesses.

Today, I think the business ventures that will be the most successful will either be very niche, or combinatorial. What I mean by that is, if you look at a company like Figma, they’re solving a very specific problem, and they do it incredibly well. They’re a niche product but with wide adoption in that niche because they really understand their customer. At Violet, we’re kind of the opposite: we’re a combination of e-commerce, plus headless, plus product distribution. We’re this amalgam of other product types that have been around before, but never in this combination. In fact it was the combining of these different features that was such a technical challenge and what makes us so valuable to our customers.

We’re past the days of someone simply standing up a website and making money. The barrier to value is much higher now, and that’s where I’ve seen the best founders today accelerate past others, because they know a particular use case so well, or are able to combine things in a novel way to generate new value.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

At the age of 16 I broke my leg twice in two years, and spent three months in a wheelchair. While there were a lot of learning experiences from that, I distinctly remember one incident where I was waiting to use the restroom. The two normal stalls were empty, but the person had chosen the wheelchair accessible stall. I had to wait until they were finished. At first I was furious, and then realized that I had done this very same thing without thinking about it prior to my injury. I was frustrated after three months in a wheelchair for how that experience was overlooked by others: it was eye-opening to think about what it must be like to live a lifetime in different and sometimes more challenging circumstances.

While some things can’t be fully understood until you experience them, one can’t experience everything, and this gap is something I now think about often: How can I constantly strive to empathize with the experiences and challenges of other people, even when I can’t directly experience it myself? One of our core values at Violet is empathy, because we ultimately work better together and build better companies by being able to consider other peoples’ viewpoints. Sure, we can’t always completely understand the experiences of those around us–but that’s precisely why we always try.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Without hesitation, Barack Obama. Regardless of your politics, I feel it’s like living during the time of Abraham Lincoln and not wanting to at least sit down with them. The version of the world Barack Obama stepped into, the problems he’s faced as an individual and a leader, are in combination unprecedented. And so there are just insights, experiences, and wisdom from that that I couldn’t get from anyone else. I’d need at least an hour to talk to him about his career and life’s work.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I take a lot of inspiration from Philippe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between the original World Trade towers. He was so focused on his craft and passionate about the process just as much about the outcome. He woke up everyday and ‘got on his wire’, whether it was 2 feet off the ground, or 2,000 feet off the ground. His attention to detail allowed him to perform an act for which the consequence of a single mistake was death. We very rarely engage in activities when a single mistake is certain death. If Philippe has made a misstep above the World Trade Towers, there’s no surviving that fall. While I don’t want to be punished with death for each mistake I make doing the thing I love, I find the clarity to be beautiful in my own relationship to my craft. I highly recommend Man on Wire, watched through the lens of a metaphor and as performance art. 

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I really like cycling, I read a lot of nonfiction, and I try to make a point of keeping up with all the Oscar-nominated films on an annual basis. But honestly, I love to learn new things and more often than not I’m applying that energy to my work. It doesn’t feel like work for me though. For me, it’s fun to spend a few hours on a weekend getting really proficient at a new tool that could help our company, because a) I’m learning something new and b) I’m working towards something I’m endlessly passionate about.

I’ve often thought it’s strange that we don’t make the same kinds of boundaries for hyper focused, dedicated artists and high performers like we do for other vocations. Like, no one would ever criticize John Mayer or Prince for playing guitar too much in their off hours, or Sue Bird for practicing on her evenings or weekends. For me, this is my craft, this is my sport. I’ve pursued other passions like music but now this is my focus, it’s what I love to do. While, I like to read and get outside like many people, I spend a great deal of my time just trying to get better at the thing I love. 

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Any Other Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

I stand with Ukraine.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Doing what you set out to do.

  Brandon Schulz’s Favorites Stack:


1. The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt . This book changed my mind about whether people can change their minds. We are less rational than we think we are. And this book presents the foundation for this based on Moral Psychology. At the root of moral psychology is the way by which any one of us decides to do or not do something regardless of explicit rules. I found this book to be enlightening in understanding my own brain, as well as the way others come to make decisions and behave in our ever increasingly complex world.

2. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. I love this book. It is a gorgeous metaphor of the magic that happens when a team locks in. It’s about a rowing crew from the University of Washington (roughly 30 min from where I live). There’s a concept in rowing called ‘swing’ that almost feels like flying over the water. It happens when everyone is pulling in the same direction, completely in sync, as a result of a kind of unification that arises out of the body of a hull with 8 individual humans catapulting forward. I want to feel this in the teams I build. The book talks through the ups and downs of the coach, the individuals, the team, and how we bring all of who we are into our boats every day. 

3. Self-Compassion by Krista Neff. Self-Compassion is about what you might expect, compassion towards oneself. It’s not a soft or wishy washy book, but one that challenges the kinds of toxic cultures we’ve inherited that we likely don’t even know are running through our brains. A lot of this book was about slowing down some of the connections my brain was making that I wasn’t even aware of. Our synapses fire so fast, and the grooves are so strong, that we rarely have the language and practices to stare at them, and evaluate whether the appropriate level of intelligence and wisdom has been integrated into the way we perceived something, how we talk to ourselves, or whether our assumptions about a situation or our performance are accurate or fair at all. 

Health & Fitness:

1. Peloton. Love my Peloton, as I love cycling. My standard approach is to use ‘Just Ride’ and listen to a podcast or book while riding to a particular cadence or output I’m wanting to work on over a period of time.

2. 12 min body weight circuit heavy on strict pull ups (Cross Fit-inspired, WOD style). I try to focus on pull ups as the core exercise involving a lot of different muscles at once, with other movements wrapped in. With our bodies, we have to use it or lose it!

3. Mud WTR. Healthy mushrooms and a bit of caffeine have been more sustainable for me.


1. Apple: Of course.

2. Rapha: I have more Rapha gear than any one human being should own.

3. NIKE: Pretty much everything else.


1. Airpods Max

2. Smart Sweets

3. Ollipop

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. The Ezra Klein Show. Especially love Ezra’s deep dives into productivity, attention, and parenting. 

2. Hidden Brain. Fascinated by behavioral economics.

3. Masters of Scale. Yep.

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. London (my favorite city)

2. Montana (for some summer fly fishing with my partner’s family)

3. Krabi, Thailand (favorite beach)

- What I Found
Elliot Cao | Hast


Founder of Hast, a company that designs tools to help make cooking easier, more predictable, and more fun.

What Is Hast? Tell Us About Your Brand And Mission.

Hast is created to bring high-performance, design centric kitchen tools that energize and excites cooking. With forward-looking, functional, and intuitive design, Hast reduces the weight and seriousness of high-performance knives so that you can focus on the creative part of cooking.

We believe cooking is crucial to society, cultural and sustainability. There is an artist in everyone, and cooking is the artistry everyone can pursue and start whenever.

Our mission is to get more people to cook, cook more and have more fun cooking.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Before starting Hast, I have been creating brands, mostly for large corporations. I have been working in marketing and branding consultancy in firms and brands such as Weber Shandwick, Future Brand and Nivea.

My interest in material science led me to work with a startup pioneering in innovative alloy in cutlery which then got me into the world of knives and knife production. After seeing some many knives (designs), I still couldn’t find a knife I am proud to own, a knife of uncompromising performance, and good design with meaningful & essential details, and does not cost a fortune. Knives in the market are either traditional and serious, or aggressive in design (look) but not comfortable to use, or those flashy colorful cheap knives sets.

Like many makers and entrepreneurs, I was ignorant and brave enough to give the design a try which then led to the journey of exploring and testing dozens of steels, production and performance tests, and launching a crowdfunding campaign.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

We want a registrable brand name that can reflect our design principle (simple, universal, timeless). The name Hast is from Swedish, meaning speedy/fast. It also means “have” in Old English. The name reflects our function-focused, minimalist design approach, and the chef’s mindset: focused, creative, and present.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

I like make things that make positive impact, and I am quite proud that Hast knives have become the go-to knife of many home chefs who purchased many brands. Customer feedbacks like this get me excited:

“As a professional chef of 40yrs I can say last year I purchased 3 new chef knives. Misen, Hast and another high end I cannot remember. Point? I reach for Hast every time . It's lighter than the rest and now I'm noticing it stays the sharpest. I give it a surprising A+”-Jack Petronella

The least-liked part is that you have to deal with all the setbacks, challenges and stay positive. 

The most challenging moment is pushing for high-quality production when everything was delayed in 2020. We are few months behind our planed delivery schedule, and we couldn’t give accurate estimation of delivery. 

The most exciting moment is when we shipped the orders to our ealy backers. I am very grateful for the Kickstarter community for their support and trust, and I am very happy we can deliver knives they like. 

Can You Share Some Insight As To Your Manufacturing Process? What Makes Hast Knives Unique In Terms Of Design And Technology?

Making great knives are just like cooking great steak. Prime meat is essential, but just part of the success. The performance of kitchen knives is limited by the steel, the harder the steel, the sharper the knife can be, but at the same time, more difficult to produce. And the knife can be difficult and specific too, especially with ultra-hard high-carbon steels. The production process also affects the knives performance largely. The steel will determine the geometry limits of the knife, hence cutting performance, as well as the production process. The harder the steel is, the slower the process. Heat and cold treatment, and heat produced during the manufacturing process will also change the hardness and strength of the steel, and performance of the knife.

Our differentiation of design came from our function/experience-first design principle. We want to design a good knife, then an impressive design. Every detail of Hast knives is kept because it serves a better function or user interaction. It weights light your hand and feels light to your eyes and mind. It’s an easy and effortless tool.

It’s subtle but different with details you appreciate more after using it for a while. The design removes the feeling of a tool, let you feel just you cook and create.

Hast Edition series knives have achieved the highest sharpness and edge-retention (durability) standard, 116% above the highest industry standard (Catra Excellent standard)

Hast Edition series knives are made of patented Matrix powder steel, a steel with great balance of hardness, yield strength and corrosion resistance. (Typically for knives, harder steel means sharp but fragile and easy-rust knives.) The achieve optimal performance from the steel, we need to test optimize the production process. We did multiple test-production test even before we ran our Kickstarter campaign.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New Products Launching Soon?

We are going to launch a new knife line featuring the same minimalistic design with premium Japanese high-carbon stainless steel from leading cutlery steel manufacturer JFE.

It will be the MacBook Air to our current Edition Powder steel line. We are currently testing the steel and adjusting the production processes for the best possible performance. We will also run lab test and kitchen-using test with chefs before we finalize the production standard.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business Both in Terms Of Growth Plans As Well As Day-To-Day Operations? How About Recent Supply Chain Issues- Has This Impacted Hast At All?

It has dramatically affected our business, especially the manufacturing. We have to closely monitor and work with our manufacturing partner. The pandemic made it almost impossible at the beginning. It also makes it very difficult to have off-line meetings with clients, partners, and customers.

The supply chain issue made shipping more expensive, and unpredictable. One of our shippings had to wait in a port for more than a month before loading.

How Do You Think Your Industry (Or The World In General) Will Change Post-COVID?

I think people are exposed more to cooking and their kitchen. When you get into cooking more, you will realize that good knives and other cooking tools are very important to cooking, just like instruments to artists.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tricks You Use To Stay Productive?

I typically get up 8:30 and get to the office around 9am. I will have my first cup of coffee around 10. I have a light lunch (chocolate, nuts, or some simple protein).

I finish around 7pm and have a full meal for dinner. I will make some calls and working on emails after my dinner break.

I go to gym around 4 times a week. 2 days in the week and 2 in the weekend.

Gym/training is a great routine for me to keep my energy level and stay focus. It offers incremental progress that you are in total control. The sense of progress is critical to keep a positive mindset when work is challenging and unpredictable.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

In-depth understanding of the product.

Engineering and design mindset.

Good communicator of product and vision of the company.

My advice is that you should only invest in ventures that you have a passion for.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

I once treated myself from an allergy induced blackout on a train without medicine, by applying basic physics and biology. I used cold water (to drink and rinse) to cool my body and reduce my body’s allergic reaction.

I think the lesson is that you need stay calm to come up with the better solution possible and there always solutions to make the reality better.

Any Thoughts You Want To Share Relating To Current Events, The Economy, Political Climate, Or Any Other Topic?

I believe we are in an era of major transitioning: transitioning to sustainable energy, energy independence and abundance; Transitioning to Autonomous technology with AI, Robotics; transitioning to better living with genome sequencing & therapeutics. These transitioning will change human race fundamentally in the form of economy, politics, and culture.

In any form of transitioning, there will be mistakes, chaos, pain, and suffering, especially for those who are in disadvantage. I think self-care is utterly important. Cooking can play a much important role in self-care and taking care of those we love. Cooking will be a bigger part of our living and culture in the technology advanced, abundant era when everyone is an artist.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I think I’d like to hang out with Elon Musk. He is a true entrepreneur & engineer, a cool, kind and host person and he has been creating fundamental positive changes to humanity. And I am also a techno fan.

Who Is Your Role Model?

Elon Musk and Steve Jobs

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I cook quite often. I try to cook recipes from different cultures. I experiment and try to understand the fundamentals of different cuisine. I bring my own interpretation to recipes and sometimes it works great.

I am into art, design, movie, and music. I watch movies of different language and cultures to have sense of perspective of living beyond my experiences.

I train regularly. I am also a certified Les Mills RPM (cycling) instructor.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“Physics is the law, everything else is a recommendation.”

It’s quite true. It helps to separate opinions from facts, and we should always question opinions.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Making the best of you and making positive impact to your family, community and wherever you can reach.

  Elliot Cao’s Favorites Stack:


1. The Outlier

2. The Crowd

3. Steve Jobs

Health & Fitness:

1. Cross-training-weight & cardio

2. RPM (stationary cycling)

3. Pilates


1. Uniqlo

2. Prada

3. Adidas


1. Hast Knives, I drink a glass of water with fine-sliced lemon and Himalaya salt every morning.

2. iPhone 13 Pro and MacBook Pro

3. Freitag backpack

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. HubermanLab podcast (health, nutrition, longevity, science)

2. Breaking Points

3. Dave Lee Investing (good take on Tesla and other Tech companies)

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Texas

2. Italy

3. Portugal

- What I Found
Peter Marler | Robin Golf


Co-Founder & CEO of Robin Golf, a company that makes buying premium golf clubs easier and more approachable so that more people can start swinging.

What Is Robin Golf? Tell Us About Your Brand, Your Mission, And What Makes Your Products Unique.

We're a family business (female & LGBT founded) that's passionate about bringing accessibility and diversity to golf.  We make the highest quality sets of clubs on the market for new and casual players  - women, men, and juniors.  Very simple purchase process, no jargon, no confusion. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Most people assume that since I started a golf company that I’m an avid or highly skilled golfer, Neither is true and that’s a big part of the reason Robin was started.  

I co-founded the company with my brother Andrew (a former D1 collegiate player), and my sister-in-law Ali (a new/casual player).  They joined me in Los Angeles in 2017 and in short order  Andrew invited us to play golf with him at his new golf club.   At the time I was using a garage sale set and Ali was using an entry level discount set, neither of which felt appropriate for our debut at the club.  

Ali and I went to a major golf retailer in LA to buy new sets and both had terrible experiences for different reasons.  For me, I was overwhelmed by choice, price, and jargon.  The pro was asking me things like “what loft do you want in your driver” and “what flex to you prefer in the shaft,” which I didn’t know the answers to.  In the end, the set he put together for me came to about $3,500. He then brings Ali into the back of the store and shows her one set of pink clubs and one set of purple clubs.  We both left the store frustrated - me feeling taken advantage of and Ali feeling patronized.  

We asked Andrew what the Warby Parker equivalent of golf was and he told us it didn’t exist.  In confirming this, we found that the major golf brands cater predominantly to avid, skill biased golfers, who overwhelmingly tend to be affluent, white, men.  Meanwhile, the fastest growing groups in the sport were ones that were typically left out of the narrative - women, people of color, juniors, and millennials/gen z.  

That’s when the idea for Robin Golf came about.  Robin was started with the goal of creating accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in golf.  We launched by releasing a line of golf sets, but we see that mission applying to many different categories in golf and beyond.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

We had originally named the company Marler Golf, but since our mission was to democratize golf it felt a bit pretentious to name it after ourselves.  Also we had several foreign friends tell us that our last name is difficult to understand/pronounce if English is your second language.  

So we renamed the company Robin which signifies a few things.   First, the bird symbolizes the coming of spring and a sign of good things to come.  Second, Robin fits in nicely with the bird vernacular of golf (e.g. birdie, eagle, albatross, condor).  

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

I’ve had many favorite parts of the journey, but I’ve enjoyed ideating and creating Robin’s culture the most.  It’s been fun and rewarding to think about commonly held practices in American work culture and asking “is there a good reason to keep doing it this way?”  For example, we implemented a 4-day work week after being inspired by the Icelandic study on its benefits.  I get really energized when I get to think about how we can use Robin as a tool to create positive experiences for our employees, customers, and community.  

My least favorite part is the admin work that comes along with having a small team.  Things like accounting, expenses, taxes, and other paperwork.  Hopefully I won’t have to spend so much time doing those things in the not so distant future.  

Tell Us About Your Co-Founders And How Their Skills Supplement Yours.

I co-founded the company with my brother and my sister-in-law.  Thankfully we’re really close and we all have complementary skills so it’s worked out nicely.  That being said, we have invested in an executive coach so that we can more effectively navigate our work lives and personal lives intertwining.  There have been times where work disputes spill over into our personal lives and it’s never fun when that happens.  

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Fundraising has been a trip. Surprisingly, it was way easier for us to raise money when we were just a pitch deck and an idea than it has been after launching and finding success in our first 18 months. I think when you’re pre-launch investors get excited about the possibility of what you will build, whereas after launch the focus is on KPI’s which vary greatly by investor. We’ve raised money from angels and family offices thus far, but we’re in the process of raising our seed round which looks like it may contain our first institutional check.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Any New Products Or Categories Launching Soon?

We got somewhat lucky in that golf exploded during the pandemic. When golf courses opened up around May 2020 our products just started flying off the shelves, which continued through 2021. We 5x’d our top line 20-21 and expect to do the same in 2022 (assuming no more significant supply chain disruptions).

We’re launching several new products this year including a 13-club set, balls, and accessories. Our goal is still to keep our product selection highly curated and simple to understand.

Ultimately our goal is to bring accessibility and inclusivity to a sport that has historically lacked those values. We have a larger vision with regard to that mission that could extend beyond golf in the future.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business Both in Terms Of Growth Plans As Well As Day-To-Day Operations? How About Recent Supply Chain Issues- Has This Impacted Your Ability To Keep Up With Demand On The Manufacturing Or Shipping Side Of Things?

We launched the week of the shut down and thought we were completely screwed. Thankfully golf was one of the only things that you could do while safely socially distanced so the sport exploded in 2020-2021.

Similar to many ecommerce companies though we were affected by the supply chain issues. Lead times have ballooned and it’s always frustrating to see our container ships idling at the port of LA for weeks at a time. I’d like to think that the situation is improving but I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet unfortunately.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines? What Are Some Tricks You Use To Stay Productive?

I hate working out in the morning so the only thing I do other than shower and brush my teeth is stretch. Apparently I’m at that age where my lower back hurts all the time and I never was very good about stretching until it became absolutely necessary.

As for staying productive through the day I’m a big fan of taking many small breaks. I’ll usually take a walk, read a few pages of my book, listen to a podcast segment, or get sucked into Tik Tok (I’m desperately trying to reduce my Tik Tok time in 2022).

I try to workout in the evening, but I’ve definitely become less regimented about it during the pandemic. I love cooking so I’ll typically try to cook for myself and my husband rather than ordering from Postmates.

I almost always end the day with a dry martini.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Tenacity - I was listening to the How I Built This interview with Brian Armstrong from Coinbase and he said that someone once told him that entrepreneurship is moving from one setback to another with enthusiasm.  That made me laugh and really resonated with my journey so far.  

The ability to zoom out - sometimes I get so wrapped up in the challenges I’m facing at work that I forget to take a step back and remember that they’re rarely as catastrophic as I’m making them.  In those moments I remind myself that I have my health, wonderful family and friends, food, and shelter, so it’s not going to kill me if someone doesn’t get their golf clubs on time.  That practice is harder than it sounds, but I do my best. 

Self-kindness - I think starting a company humbles you really quickly because it shows you just how little you actually know.  Many people ask if going to business school was a prerequisite to starting a company and I think it helps about 5%, but really the crux of building a business seems to be having strong convictions about the problem you’re solving followed by a ton of trial and error.  I tend to be very self-critical, but I’m learning to cut myself some slack and practice more self-kindness.  I’ve embraced the famous Thomas Edison quote - “I have not failed. I've just found ten thousand ways that won't work.”

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

In a job I had prior to starting Robin, for the first year I was convinced that I was going to get fired. Not for any specific reason, I just felt very underqualified for the role and my imposter syndrome was severe. I spent the better part of that year complaining to my dad about how I just knew I was going to let go. He was such a good sport about it - he spent about 11 months saying all the right things to make me feel better.

One day after work I called him with this same sob story and I think he had had enough of my whining. Instead of replying with the usual “I’m sure that’s not true etc.” he just says “Oh for f’s sake Peter, SO WHAT?” The reply caught me off guard at first, but then he continued: “So what if you get fired? You’re a highly educated white male with no kids. You might have to update your resume and find a new job. And if we assume the absolute worst case scenario: you lose your job, can’t get a new one, your husband leaves you, and you get thrown out of your house, you can always come back home and annoy us in person until you figure your life out. This is not a real problem, so STOP complaining about it.”

He was absolutely right of course. It was the best reality check I’d ever gotten and I think about him saying that every time I encounter a problem that I think is insurmountable.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I’m going to cheat and say two - Julie Andrews and John Cleese.  They’re iconic and their movies and TV shows have brought me so much joy throughout my life.  

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Play tennis, pickleball (which I’ve recently become obsessed with), and golf (badly). 

I love to cook and make cocktails so I try to do those as frequently as possible. 

I’m a big movie guy so I watch as many as I can in my spare time (especially horror movies) 

Reading and board games. 

What Does Success Mean To You?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately, because to me entrepreneurship feels like a series of failures punctuated by brief moments of feeling like you may have done something right.  

To me success is effortlessly acknowledging and feeling joy each day.  I think the things that we think will bring us joy are often misleading, or at least that was my takeaway from the movie Blank Check.

The times in my life where I’ve felt the most joy are ones in which I felt confident in my life’s purpose and supported and loved by those around me.   

Alternatively, I once heard Tom Ford say that success is being able to take a nap after breakfast, so maybe I just shoot for that.  

  Peter Marler’s Favorites Stack:


1. Delivering Happiness - Tony Hsieh

2. Let My People Go Surfing - Yvon Chouinard

3. Kane and Abel - Jeffrey Archer

Health & Fitness:

1. Shred App

2. Peloton (I don’t cycle, but I like their fitness classes)

3. Kos Vegan Protein


1. Allbirds

2. Buck Mason 

3. Eberjey (just got their PJ’s for Christmas and I never want to take them off)


1. Hendrick’s Gin

2. Cardon SPF face moisturizer

3. Noise cancelling Airpods

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Lean Luxe newsletter

2. How I built This podcast

3. Unexplainable podcast

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Patagonia

2. Portugal

3. Turkey

- What I Found
Michael Kopko | Pearl Health


Co-Founder & CEO of Pearl Health, a company enabling primary care practices to thrive by compensating providers for improving their patients’ health.

What Is Pearl Health? Tell Us About Your Company, How It Works, And What You Do Differently.

Pearl Health is fixing healthcare by enabling primary care doctors to transform their work with value-based care, starting with Medicare’s Direct Contracting program. To do this, we’re building the most trusted platform for enabling primary care providers to bear and capture value from risk while delivering life-improving care to their patients. As a technology-first company, we offer a physician enablement platform, alongside our risk marketplace, that will help physicians manage patients’ total cost of care. 

We’re excited to release the first iteration of the Pearl Platform in the first quarter of 2022, aimed at enabling physicians to decide how to deliver better patient care at a lower cost — while capturing more value for themselves. This includes: 

Easy-to-understand financial reporting and payments management

Strategic visibility into patient panel health

Dedicated expert support to ensure success 

In contrast to the flurry of acquisitions of physician practices by health systems, PE groups, and other self-purported physician enablement companies, at Pearl Health, we aren’t seeking to have greater control over practices. We offer a clear alternative to those providers who wish to remain independent, instead giving them greater access to economics that are more in line with the value that they generate for the healthcare industry. We believe that primary care providers can best serve their patients when they’re allowed to remain independent. At Pearl Health, we aim to enable and empower them to take that opportunity — and to take a bet on themselves. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I grew up in central Connecticut, and I was raised in an extremely entrepreneurial and hard-working family. I caught the entrepreneurial bug early, starting my first business in 3rd grade: selling magazines. It was fun to help my classmates — a fun-loving and rapidly expanding salesforce — generate more than their lunch money. This was a great experience that taught me how aligned incentives and teamwork are the lifeblood for a rapidly growing business. I worked hard with my Mom on weekends, spending hours building pricing catalogs and tools to help our salesforce grow. It’s probably fair to say that my Mom was my first co-founder.

As I got older, I was lucky to be the first member of my family to earn a spot in an Ivy League university, Harvard — a point of pride for my family. After Harvard, my luck continued, and I went straight to Columbia Business School after receiving the Feldberg Fellowship.

After business school, I had the opportunity to work at Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, where I led a team of 60 hedge fund researchers and reported to Ray Dalio, its founder and co-Chief Investment Officer, and Greg Jensen, its CEO and co-CIO. My time at Bridgewater taught me how to tackle big problems with smart, committed people.

From Bridgewater, I joined Oscar Health with several other Bridgewater alums and Josh Kushner, a serial entrepreneur and now world-class investor whom I met at Harvard. When we first met, funnily enough, Josh offered to invest in a startup that I founded in college. This time around, we were intent on making the collaboration happen, and I’m grateful that we did.

Helping build Oscar from a team of 20 people to a publicly-traded company gave me the opportunity to have some of the coolest and most educational experiences of my career. It also gave me incredible insight into our healthcare system. My fantastic team and I were responsible for distributing Oscar’s health plans across the country, then building complete networks to serve them. After that, I managed the Oscar’s largest P&L — greater than $2.5bn — to help make Oscar more sustainable.

My time at Oscar reaffirmed the critical lesson that incentives matter — and, more specifically, that we had devalued our primary care layer in healthcare across the country. It was sad to see, but it hinted at a huge opportunity.

When I learned of Direct Contracting, a new and innovative model out of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation and I met with the team at AlleyCorp — including Kevin Ryan, Jeff De Flavio, and Ankit Patel — I felt that we were on the precipice of a huge idea that was going to make a national impact. Pearl was born shortly thereafter.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Pearl Health is a reference to the notion of “clinical pearls”, which are small bits of free-standing, clinically relevant information based on experience or observation. They’re part of the vast domain of experience-based medicine, and can be helpful in dealing with clinical problems for which controlled data do not exist.

We’re helping doctors focus on this irreplaceable impact that only they can provide, and we’re striving to free them from the burdens that currently overrun their lives.

I also love the idea of how a pearl forms in nature — the beautiful result of irritants around it. It’s a great metaphor for the contribution we’re trying to make in healthcare.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

I deeply enjoy bringing people together to solve hard problems that make the world a better place.

At Pearl, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to do exactly that. We’re building a team of world-class talent, and we’re laser-focused on making healthcare more sustainable. Every member of the team shares a deep-seated passion for making an impact and building something great. I personally never feel like I’m working when building Pearl with our team. Instead it feels like we’re assembling a big orchestra that will produce beautiful, incredible things for the people around us. It’s been magical to watch it unfold.

Our best moments have been meeting with physician practices across the country and introducing them to the power of Pearl and the future of a value-oriented healthcare system. I love meeting our clients and building relationships with new ones. I think the best clients challenge us to improve and get better, which helps create a virtuous cycle. Needless to say, primary care doctors are remarkable people. They genuinely care about their patients, and they’re working hard to find new sources of value for their patients, their staff, and themselves.

I don’t have a least favorite part in entrepreneurship. I genuinely love solving problems at scale — and with the right team and resources. Being an entrepreneur somewhat guarantees that you won’t have all those preconditions, so it forces you to be creative and inventive with less. I think that push can generate creativity and innovation, which I love.

If anything, I empathize a lot with the obstacles that our clients face. So much about our current system gets in the way of what they want to be doing most: caring for their patients. The flipside of that is the incredible opportunity that we have to help doctors — real-life unsung heroes – deliver better healthcare at a lower cost, making both them and their patients happier and better off.

Tell Us About Your Co-Founders And How Their Skills Supplement Yours.

Jeff De Flavio brings a ton of clinical experience, having launched other companies in the healthcare space focused on making peoples’ lives better. He’s founder of Groups: Recover Together, the national leader in value-based care for treatment of opiate addiction. Jeff earned his MD from Dartmouth College of Medicine, along with his MBA from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Most importantly, Jeff is a relentless optimist, and sees every stumble in the road as an opportunity for a new path.

Ankit Patel brings lots of healthcare policy experience, previously as a Senior Advisor at CMS Innovation Center, where he worked on different value-based payment models, including the Pioneer ACO program and Maryland All-Payer Waiver. Most recently, Ankit led Provider Alignment at Clover Health, building programs and software to engage providers to achieve better health outcomes at lower costs. He started his career as a healthcare attorney for an academic medical center, after earning his BA in International Studies at University of South Carolina - Columbia and his JD from UNC at Chapel Hill. Ankit is a hustler at heart, who tries to see opportunity in challenge and won’t be fooled by healthcare nonsense. He also likes to give hot takes, which the team finds refreshing and engaging.

Kevin Ryan is one of the great entrepreneurs of our time, having built game-changing businesses across a breathtaking variety of industries. At Pearl, we feel lucky to find ourselves alongside the likes of MongoDB, Gilt Group, Zola, Nomad Health — all of which benefited from Kevin’s energy and intensity, which I absolutely love. I deeply value that Kevin has been both an operator and an executive, and I admire his incredible focus, drive, and desire to live life to the fullest. I enjoy spending time with Kevin, and always find myself incredibly impressed by his vision.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

The fundraising process for Pearl was extremely exciting and stimulating. It came with highs and lows, but ultimately resulted in a wonderful set of partners to join us on our journey — and enabled our team with the resources to accelerate and propel our vision and the future of value-based care forward.

We started by doing pitches to prospective investors. We were also having our first team retreat at this point, so the whole company had the chance to listen to the pitch, which seemed like a special experience to share with our early crew. I had been at Oscar for a very long time, but I had never had the chance to see a fundraising pitch. Sharing that with our first ten team members seemed like a fun, remarkable start in our commitment to transparency and inclusion.

We ultimately decided to move forward with Andreessen Horowitz and Vineeta Agarwala, MD. That process was incredibly special, as we had many great firms who wanted to support us. After meeting with Vineeta, her team, and Marc Andreessen — and, really, the entire a16z healthcare team and many of their partners — we were convinced that we had a very special community and platform to build Pearl within. The a16z team have been exceptional partners, every step of the way.

We were also extremely fortunate to have Kevin Ryan and AlleyCorp participate in our Series A fundraise. The AlleyCorp team is incredibly supportive and dedicated to the future of healthcare, and has expanded our thinking at every interaction.

We will be using our funds to accelerate product development, continue to build out our team of world-class talent, accelerate growth and expansion, and help facilitate and support our physicians to succeed in value-based care models as they make this shift.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Anything Exciting Launching Soon?

We’re loving it and have exceeded our own expectations. At the start of 2022, nearly 10,000 lives will be managed by more than 100 doctors through our physician enablement platform across 51 ZIP codes in 13 states.

For 2023, we will expand significantly, focusing first on increasing density in existing markets to help us provide even more resources to our PCP partners to help them deliver better care at a lower cost.

Looking forward, we’re building a marketplace that connects providers and payors in risk-based arrangements, where providers can increasingly bear and capture value from risk and transform their practices to value-based care. We’re actively building partnerships to realize this vision.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business And Operation? Have There Been Any Significant Changes Over The Last Few Months As Things Have Gotten Better Overall?

COVID-19 was horrible for our country in so many ways. Our team rallied to find the silver lining during those difficult times, and we invented new ways to find and hire great people — you can work with us anywhere! COVID-19 also served as a forcing function for solving important physician problems, like the challenge of decreased in-office visits on primary care practice’s finances, while also not losing the humanity and personality that’s required to build a human-first healthcare business.

We’re excited to have incredible talent across the country — and the world(!) — join us on our mission. A remote-first culture has enabled us to have a broader set of perspectives at the table than a geographically-focused organization, which I see as a competitive advantage.

As COVID-related conditions have improved, we’ve seen a growing desire for our team and our clients to come together, and we’re developing systems and strategies to enable that collaboration and togetherness safely.

How Do You Think Your Industry Or The World In General Will Change Post-COVID?

COVID-19 demonstrated the fragility of our healthcare system and the ways in which we take for granted the providers that make it run. We need to empower and support them more effectively going forward, and part of that is helping them realize a greater portion of the value that they bring to the healthcare system. For too long, individual primary care providers have been kept at a distance from bearing risk and capturing downstream value that they create for our healthcare system. Instead, rewards from shared savings line the pockets of insurance companies, health systems, groups, or whoever else disintermediates doctors from risk. Or, perversely, fee-for-service incentives have been aimed at rewarding volumes of activities, instead of outcomes, disincentivizing doctors from making meaningful connections that don't neatly fit into maniacally managed schedules. This has to change, and it starts with changing the way we recognize the value that individual doctors create. The first step is giving them back their autonomy and time, and that starts with fixing their incentives.

COVID-19 also underscored the challenges of running critical healthcare systems without integrated data infrastructure or, even worse, with paper-and-pen processes. It’s been hard to effectively operate in any industry, and it was especially true in healthcare. When it comes to helping to keep their patients healthy, one of the biggest obstacles that providers face — especially primary care physicians and their staff — is their lack of visibility into patients' health care journeys. Data exist but are scattered across constellations of different systems in different formats, making it next to impossible for doctors and staff to know how their patient is doing when she goes through the system, from whom and where she's receiving care, and whether ongoing care is aligned with the patient's best interests. That's why we're building a platform that aggregates and visualizes data to enable primary care physicians with strategic visibility into patient panel health, alongside easy-to-understand financial reporting to help them allocate and manage resources.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Pearl Health?

People make choices because of people, at least in the early innings of your venture. You are the brand, and you are the reason people say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. 

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I’m currently working long days. Emails typically start around 7:30am, and I typically sign off just before midnight. I only do it because I enjoy it and it’s all building toward something, so I don’t feel like I’m working the same way it might feel for others. If I didn’t feel that way, my “schedule” would be impossible. In general, we try hard to take weekends off as a team. I believe in the restorative process of some time away and time spent with family and friends. Even though we work hard, it’s important that people “relax hard” too.

In the morning I usually work out. For me, exercise is critical and highly related to my mood throughout the day. I’ll have a coffee in the morning and spend some time with my 2-year-old daughter, Charlotte. She’s my greatest gift in the world.

I make an effort to take a few 5-10 minutes breaks throughout the day to move around, see Charlotte when she’s back from school, and clear my mind.

Every day I also try to write three appreciations, something I’m thankful for. This simple technique, which I’ve been doing for many years, helps me start my day with thanks and optimism, instead of agitation or disappointment.

I’m probably doing too many meetings right now, but I’m committed to being available and up-to-speed with what’s going on across Pearl and beyond. That said, this is something I’m thinking more about — and how to balance it with the increasing demands on my time.

I’m increasingly using a paper journal to write down insights and important things, so I can reflect a little more. I’m also trying to reboot my daily meditations, which I’ve been doing for the better part of eight years now.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Relentless determination. Tenacity and conviction, coupled with an openness to seeing reality, enables one to identify and realize what is possible. 

Continuous optimism. There’ll always be obstacles, and you have to have an optimistic mindset to endure the hamster wheel of problems and not get discouraged. Most obstacles are tests to help you and your team grow and establish who is meant to be on the other side versus who simply wishes to be on the other side. 

Be trustworthy and know your business. Work hard to do what you say and say what you do. First impressions and your areas of focus define you. 

For entrepreneurs just starting, I encourage you to enjoy the experience and be ready to put in the hard work. Entrepreneurship can be found in many places, so don’t create a false idol of what successful entrepreneurship looks like. It’s rarely what you read in the news, and it’s never the same thing twice.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

The birth of my daughter was the most significant moment in my life.

It taught me to enjoy the moment more and appreciate my time with the people I care about. I am so lucky to have Charlotte — not only because she is awesome, but also because she’s so loved, brings happiness to everyone around her, and will always be my wife’s and my baby.

Her constant joy and excitement has helped me re-experience the world around me.

Becoming a father to a baby girl was such a special and transformative experience. It rewards me each day. I’m excited to get out of bed in the morning to see her, and I love the adventures that we get to go on together.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I’m lucky to have one of them as my mentor of nearly 20 years: George David, the Chairman of Raytheon. I love my time with George, because it gives me the opportunity to ask questions that I struggle with but are hard to share with others. He also has a genuine care and concern for my development and growth, and he sees a big enough world that he knows how to separate what’s important from distractions. I have other heroes too.

More generally, I encourage people to reach out to those who they think are great. You might get lucky and have one of them in your life.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“We will either find a way or make one,” said by Hannibal of Carthage upon his famous excursion through the Alps. I think it captures the grit, ingenuity, and confidence that is required for the entrepreneurial journey.

Is There A Parable That You Often Think About? What Is It And What Lesson Does It Teach?

I love the real-life parable of the Stockdale Paradox, which I first came across in Jim Collins’ Good to Great

Admiral James Stockdale, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and former prisoner-of-war, said of his multi-year stay in a POW camp: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” 

It’s a poignant lesson for all people, not just entrepreneurs, about the paradoxical need for both relentless optimism and intellectually honest pragmatism. Both are required to endure the ups and downs of entrepreneurship — and to build a path to the other side of what may seem like insurmountable obstacles. 

Who Is Your Role Model?

My father has been a great role model in my life. He was able to build and create a lot having come from humble beginnings and invested in his children, his colleagues, and his friends. He’s an optimist and an entrepreneur at heart, and I’ve enjoyed learning from him and spending time with him from being a little boy to an adult. 

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Working out

Time with my wife, daughter, and rest of my family

Seeing friends and doing outdoor activities with them

What Does Success Mean To You?

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. I think that, while anybody can achieve success, it takes a willingness and a discipline to drive toward it every day. For my part, I’ve enjoyed specific missions that I think are important for the world. In this chapter of my life, it’s helping Pearl’s vision manifest into reality and enabling the United States to get much more out of our healthcare system at a lower cost and with greater satisfaction. For my family, colleagues, and friends, it’s helping them achieve their ambitions and dreams, however best I can, so they live a life of abundance and adventure without regret.

  Michael Kopko’s Favorites Stack:


1. How the Economic Machine Works, by Ray Dalio (technically a video)

2. The Firm, by Josh Grisham

3. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

Health & Fitness:

1. Run on the streets

2. Citibike over the Brooklyn Bridge and all around Manhattan and Brooklyn

3. Walking around with my daughter Charlotte


1. My Pearl hoodie

2. Nike t-shirts

3. Nice pair of dress shoes


1. Airpods & iPhone

2. American Express

3. Robinhood & Audible

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. The New Yorker

2. The Strangest Secret (YouTube)

3. NY Times & WSJ & StrictlyVC

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. My wife Marcela’s family loves seeing their granddaughter, and we love seeing them. 

2. Clinton, Connecticut. It’s the beach town where I spent my summers as a kid growing up.

3. United Kingdom, Scotland

4. Ireland

5. Marcela and I still want to make it to the Maldives.

- What I Found
Joe Parenteau | Fable


Co-Founder & CEO of Fable, a lifestyle brand designing and delivering products that transform how you eat at home—starting with better tableware.

What Is Fable? Tell Us About Your Products, Mission, And How Fable Differentiates Itself From The Other Brands In The Same Category.

At Fable, we create timeless everyday pieces that inspire and elevate the experience of dining at home. Motivated by a common vision to create products that are as enjoyable as they are ethical, we started with ceramics that are sustainably crafted in Portugal, and have since expanded to flatware, glassware, textiles, and more. Starting with tableware, our mission is to bring ethical, sustainable home decor into every area of the home.

Through transparent pricing and conscious sourcing, we produce accessibly priced tableware without compromising on quality or ethical craftsmanship. We also recognize that a meal is not a given right; in our pursuit of balancing profit and purpose, we donate a meal for every Dinnerware Set sold through our partnership with Mealshare. We plan to continue to grow Fable into a lifestyle brand and trusted source for all things home decor.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I’m a technology leader, and an operations expert. After working in the traditional accounting space, I began my pursuit in technology at Bench Accounting, where I helped build teams and scale the operations from 400 to 4000 clients. Previously, I built and led an 80 person operations team at AvenueHQ, a real estate marketing company.

Together with Max Tims and Tina Luu, I founded Fable as a solution to a personal problem. When wanting to upgrade to more premium home decor and tableware, I wasn’t able to find anything out there that was ethically and sustainably produced and accessibly priced that also offered a simplified shopping experience. We saw an opportunity, and set out to fill the gap.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

A favorite for me has been working with such a great team—it’s so inspiring to collaborate with such an incredible group of people. As for the least-liked, I’d say the challenges we’ve faced in recent months due to global shipping delays. Most of our products are produced in places like Portugal and Japan, so naturally, we’ve been pretty heavily impacted by delays. Not being able to replenish our inventory levels at the expected rate, and feeling like we’re letting our customers and community down as a result, hasn’t been easy.

Tell Us About Your Co-Founders And How Their Skills Supplement Yours.

Fable was co-founded together with Max Tims, our Head of Operations, and Tina Luu, our Head of Technology. While our primary roles are quite different, we work very closely to lead Fable under one of our core philosophies: sharing all that we can. All three of us come from a background in tech, and each bring a unique yet complementary skillset to the table. 

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Our name is a reference to Aesop’s Fables. More specifically, we were drawn to the fable called The Dove and the Ant, which is what inspired the turtle dove in our logo. Its moral, the importance of showing kindness to others in order to see it in return, was something we felt aligned with both as individuals and as a brand.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

The fundraising process has been great so far—our investors have been so helpful and supportive of our business. Whenever we’ve experienced any challenges, it’s been great having them to turn to as extra team members with loads of valuable experience.

Are There Plans To Launch New Products Or Categories In The Near Future?

Yes, absolutely. At Fable, we see a lot of opportunity beyond the dining table, and we plan to continue on our mission to bring elevated home decor into every area of the home. This year, we launched premium Japanese glassware and Belgian linen to complement our sustainably crafted ceramics and flatware, and we’re launching a handful of exciting new products this year and next that we can’t wait to share with you. Keep an eye out!

This Past Year Has Brought So Many Challenges To Companies Of All Sizes, Especially Those That Lean On Supply Chains. How Have COVID-19 And Recent Supply Chain Constraints Impacted Your Operation And Business Over The Last Few Months And Year?

COVID-19 and recent supply chain constraints have impacted our business in a few different ways. More than anything, they’ve put strains on freight forwarding, which has largely impacted our logistical ability to move our products from Portugal or Japan to our warehouse in Burnaby, BC. In turn, this has caused challenges with getting our products to our customers and community. We’ve chosen to be transparent with our community in clearly communicating the issues we’re facing, and we’ve been fortunate to see an overwhelmingly positive response so far. The understanding, patience, and continued support has been really great to see.

How Do You Think Your Industry Or The World In General Will Change Post-COVID?

I think one of the biggest shifts we’ll see, and are already seeing, is with how people work. I believe that remote work is here to stay, and will continue to evolve to become a more global practice.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I spend most of my days working remotely from Europe, which puts me in a different time zone than most of my team members. I structure my workday to better align with theirs by starting later in the day, which means free mornings and late nights.

I typically start my day by taking Nash, our 2-year-old Golden Retriever, for a walk to grab a specialty coffee before I head off to train or play a match of tennis. Around noon, I either find a patio to sit on or head home for lunch. After that, I take a nap for 30 minutes to an hour before starting the workday around 2:00-3:00pm. Working remotely gives me the freedom to make dinner, take Nash for a night walk, and have a few calls with team members in the evenings. I usually have three to five Nespressos to keep me awake until the workday is done, around midnight or 1:00am local time.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

The ability to execute and think strategically. I think most people either fall into the category of having big build ideas but not knowing how to get them off the ground, or the opposite—being able to do the work, but not having the vision to execute the bigger picture.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

When I was very young, around 10 years old, I loved playing with Lego. I had a subscription to Lego Club Magazine, and became so passionate about being featured in it that I submitted multiple times. Finally, after submitting photos of a Lego submarine I made from scratch, I was featured in the magazine. To me, the takeaway was that if you really want to make something happen, it’s possible. I still live by that to this day.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Rafa Nadal, the Spanish professional tennis player. I’d love to play a game of tennis with him, and to have the opportunity to really seek to understand his ability to lift an entire community. He’s a big inspiration.

Is There A Parable That You Often Think About? What Is It And What Lesson Does It Teach?

The Dove and The Ant. As mentioned in an earlier answer, it’s one of Aesop’s fables (which technically makes it a fable, not a parable, but close enough) that inspired our name. It teaches the importance of the ability to always show kindness, which is at the root of everything we do at Fable. Showing kindness to the earth via sustainably crafted products and eco-friendly packaging, and showing kindness to each other as a team and our community as a whole.

Who Is Your Role Model?

I really look up to Maj Masad, the Co-Founder of Mejuri. He’s someone that I’ve been fortunate enough to both work with and learn from as we build Fable.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

In my free time, I like to play tennis, spend time with my girlfriend Denise and our Golden Retriever, Nash, and travel. Since relocating to Europe last year, I’ve been able to make the most of days off and weekends by jetting off (or driving) to different European cities and countries to sightsee and explore, and it’s been amazing.

What Does Success Mean To You?

To me, success is all about fulfillment—getting to live a life of fulfilling days where you really feel like you’ve been able to create and build something that brings joy to other people, and improves their lives in some way.

  Joe Parenteu’s Favorites Stack:


1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck

2. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

3. Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by James C. Collins

Health & Fitness:

1. Tennis

2. Beach volleyball

3. Gym / weightlifting


1. Lululemon

2. Kit & Ace

3. Nike


1. Nespresso

2. Red wine

3. Japanese chef’s knife

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Nik Sharma

2. Bad Blood (currently)

3. Crime Junkie

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Georgia

2. Morocco

3. Norway

- What I Found
Braeden McCarthy | Soone


Co-Founder of Soone, a connection app focused on getting people out from behind their phones and interacting in real life.

What Is Soone? Tell Us About The App And How It Works.

Soone is the first connection app that is heavily focused on getting people out from behind their phones and interacting in real life right away. We connect people in close proximity who are ready to meet when they log onto the app. When you send someone a connection request, users have 30 minutes to accept it, and a temporary chat window pops up to set a location to meet, meaning you can go from being on your phone to meeting with someone in under an hour. We also help by suggesting nearby meet up locations such as bars, nightclubs and cafés – great public places to meet up so you can have an in-person interaction and feel safe.

Women feel more comfortable with our additional security measures in place such as a requirement that the first photo you take for your profile be taken live to prevent catfishing and misleading pictures that other apps struggle with. We also have a proprietary heat map that shows where clusters of users are (though never identifying anyone’s exact location). College students, young professionals and people new to Austin have particularly embraced the philosophy behind Soone.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Before Soone, I was just a typical college student. My friend Austin and I were both 19 and realized that we saw our friends constantly swiping and hitting “like” on other apps, but when we asked our friends how many people they ended up meeting in real life, they said not many. There were lots of endless chats but it seemed my generation was more content to hide behind their phones than actually meet new people, even if they were out at a bar or restaurant. Austin and I realized that there has to be a better way and that’s how Soone was born.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite part of the entrepreneurial journey has definitely been learning. I'm one of those weird people who actually enjoys school and learning. There’s been a lot of learning that has occurred throughout this process for me. I surrounded myself with a lot of really smart people, and so that's been really enjoyable to learn from them.

The least favorite part of the journey has been trying to overcome the language barrier between layman's terms and coding terms when working with our development team. I have learned a lot from them, and I continue to get better at it every week.

 The most challenging piece has definitely been keeping up the discipline to sacrifice. I sacrifice social events and different things that my peers are doing because I have commitments for Soone, so I just don't have time to engage in many social activities. I will say it is very enjoyable work so that does make it a little bit easier to sacrifice that time, plus I'm really passionate about helping people meet in person. That passion and the enjoyment that I find in my work makes it easier.  

The most exciting moment has been seeing people relate to the experiences that I have had and that my Co-Founder Austin has had which is the reason why we came up with the concept and the need for the app in the marketplace. 

Tell Us About Your Co-Founders And How Their Skills Supplement Yours.

Scott has helped navigate the world of entrepreneurship. Austin is a real self-starter, determined to accomplish his goals, along with being very creative and aesthetically gifted at knowing how to create things that look really professional and clean.

Have You Raised Funding Thus Far? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Scott Dill is a serial entrepreneur, and he's really helped Austin and me to navigate this world of entrepreneurship. So far we've used funds to hire a development team to code the app, we've hired a marketing firm to help us share the app with the people in Austin. There are also legal fees and other fees that come with starting your own company.

How Has Soone Acquired Users In The Austin Area? What Other Cities Do You Plan On Expanding Into In The Near Future?

We have a great marketing team who has helped us do a lot of fun events in Austin and engage in a lot of great marketing opportunities. We did an event at the UT Marketplace. We've got billboards up in Austin. We’ve got Spotify ads and radio ads. We have hosted events at local venues where we were able to introduce the app to a lot of people.

I found the best way to acquire users has been just telling people about it face to face because you can address their concerns and questions. Once they understand it, people really tend to engage.

In terms of other cities, our main focus right now is just making sure the users in Austin have a really great experience with the app. Beyond that, we're thinking about launching in our hometown of Charlotte. It’s similar to Austin as it has a really young, lively demographic and a lot of great places to meet up.

How Has COVID Impacted Your Operations And Growth Over The Last Year?

COVID caused us to pause operations for a few months before we finished the app and launched it because we wanted to make sure that there wouldn’t be a health risk in launching an app in which the main purpose is to get people to meet in person. That being said, with the lack of in person interactions over the past year and a half, this app is more relevant now than it was pre-COVID.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Soone?

If you want to get something done, just start it. You don’t always have to know what you are doing but if you want to get something done, you have to start somewhere. Once you start, you can figure it out as you go.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

It depends on the day for me because I am a full-time college student. I have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 until 3:45. Those days I usually wake around 5 in the morning. I do some work for Soone, and then I “pre-read” for my classes, in which I read over some of the materials that I'll cover in my classes so that I can engage better with that material. During my hour and 20 minute lunch break, I usually grab lunch and find a quiet space to eat and catch up on emails. Then I go home and do some homework or work.

I'm also a member of the varsity lacrosse team at Franklin & Marshall College, and I practice from 7 to 9 pm. Then I go home and make some dinner, before usually going to bed around 11.

Other days, I usually get up around 6. On those days I don't have specific

commitments outside of practice and lifting so I usually try to time block my day to set aside time for different tasks. For instance, I may spend 2 hours working on revising and reviewing some of the marketing techniques that we have in place, followed by 2 hours reviewing some of the development and coding that's going on. Then I typically spend 3 hours on homework.

One trick that I use to stay productive is to always start your day with something productive because it sets the tone and the pace for the rest of your day.

Other things I like to do are read and make my bed. I usually try not to start my day by scrolling through Instagram or watching TikTok. I usually try to start it by reading either the news, or an article that's relevant to Soone.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

One, you have to be self-motivated because there's really nobody checking in on you or watching over your shoulder to make sure you're getting your work done. At the end of the day, it's up to you.

Two, you have to be determined. When there's a task at hand, a lot of times it can seem like a mountain to climb because you don't have experience with completing that task. There's no one to really help guide you along in how to complete it so you really have to be determined to just get it done.

Third, you have to be resilient. Nothing great happens overnight. So when things don't go well, you have to be resilient and able to adapt to the feedback that you're given.

In terms of advice for entrepreneurs, I have two pieces of advice. One is don't be afraid to be wrong. Just make sure that when you do get something wrong, you're open to correcting it, which is something that I definitely had to learn to do. And the second thing comes from a book that Scott O'Neal wrote called Be Where Your Feet Are. It's called API. People typically have positive intent and are not trying to take you down; they're trying to help you. So always assume positive intent when you're working with others.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

I missed my first semester of college, and then got sent home early during the second semester due to COVID, so I spent most of my college experience online. But one thing I've learned from that is God has a plan and that when one door closes, another opens. This really gave me an opportunity to work on the app and get done what I needed to get it to the position that it is in today.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Tom Brady. He has managed to perform at such a high level for such a long period of time, but he also keeps a great work/life balance and has a really strong family life. I would talk to him about how he maintains such high motivation after reaching that mountain top and how he continues to perform at a higher and higher level every year.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” - Timothy McCarthy (my grandfather)

“People spend a lot of time worrying about making the right decision; instead worry about making the decision right.” - Timothy McCarthy

Who Is Your Role Model?

My grandfather. Without a college education to start his career, he worked his way up from office boy to CEO of CE Minerals, traveling all around the world and receiving his MBA from MIT without an undergrad degree.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

I am a full-time college student majoring in Business, Organizations, and Society and minoring in Applied Mathematics at Franklin & Marshall College. I am also a member of the lacrosse team at Franklin & Marshall College so I spend time practicing, lifting, and training. Outside of those two pieces of my life, I enjoy spending time with friends, exercising, and doing yoga.

What Does Success Mean To You?

I view success in a few different lenses. Success for the app means helping people get out from behind their phones and interact in person, the way we did before social media and cell phones really dominated our society. Success for me personally means people regarding me as kind and hardworking. Success in life means having a positive impact on society whether in a big way or just impacting one or two people every single day.

  Braeden McCarthy’s Favorites Stack:


1. Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins

2. Be Where Your Feet Are, by Scott O’Neil

3. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

Health & Fitness:

1. Lifting

2. Fight Camp

3. Going for a 2-3 Mile Run


1. Brooks Brothers

2. Lululemon

3. Nike

- What I Found
Nate Checketts | Rhone


Founder & CEO of Rhone, a premium apparel brand for men.

What Is Rhone? Tell Us About Your Brand And What Makes Your Clothing Unique.

Rhone is premium men’s apparel made for where you sweat, live, and work. Rhone delivers best-in-class products, engineered with performance technologies and premium fabrics designed to fill the void in the men’s premium activewear market.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

As I was graduating from BYU, I launched my first venture backed startup which was a mobile software company. That was my first experience working with investors, building out a leadership team and trying to grow a company. We eventually sold that business to the 49ers and I then worked for and consulted with many companies: Cisco, FanVision, Sport Radar and The National Football League, to name a few. But, my passion always lied with creating, building, and being challenged. I ended up launching four different companies before the age of 30 and Rhone was the last one.

If you told me fifteen years ago that I would have started a men’s apparel company, I would have never believed it because fashion and apparel wasn’t something I had any background in or something I paid attention to. Rhone was built because we saw a gap in the men’s activewear market and we felt there was a big opportunity in the space.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Our name was inspired by the Rhone river in Europe as it was not only aesthetically beautiful but was also once a valued trade route. That’s exactly how we approach our products. We start with the world’s finest fabrics, pair them with cutting edge textile technology, and finish with an unmatched fit and style to create clothing that satisfies both form and function.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is the ability to innovate, to evolve, and to always look for ways to improve. To me, that constant need to reinvest yourself is invigorating and exciting. I also really enjoy building a team and working to be a better leader that they can rely on and put trust in. And of course I really have grown to love creating tangible product vs working in software. It is such a great experience to hand someone a product you have dreamed about and created and see that product positively impact their day / life.

I think the biggest challenge for me personally is I have high expectations and it is easy when you crest one milestone to constantly be thinking about the next one vs reflecting on what you have accomplished thus far. I’m wired a bit to always be looking forward (hence our tagline) but there is real value in looking back and reflecting. One of the quotes I need to remind myself often is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” There will always be someone doing better than you and most people only experience joy and sorry in relativity--meaning they are only happy relative to those they know or are aware of vs happy in the absolute. I have learned that taking stock of what I have, have been given and been blessed with and focusing on that daily gratitude helps center me and ground me in the highs and lows of building a company. There are days I feel like we are unstoppable and days where I don’t know how we will get through an obstacle but gratitude always brings me back to how fortunate I am to even have the ability to do what I do.

Most exciting Rhone moment? I think telling my mom we were opening a store on 5th Ave is one of the most exciting Rhone moments for me. It just felt like such a milestone to be across from Nike, New Balance and other giants of industry and exciting to be on an iconic New York street.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

The fundraising process has always been a bit of a roller coaster. Unlike many of the companies in our space we have never used a banker. It has always been driven by people who are passionate and excited about the brand and product. We have some incredible investors on our cap table including a few former NFL players like Justin Tuck and Troy Aikman (one Giant and one Cowboy). We also have great personalities and investors including David Stern who invested before he passed, Steve Bornstein and others we are not allowed to share publicly. Lastly we have been backed by the largest Global consumer PE firm L Catterton.

With So Many DTC Apparel Brands Out There In The Same Space, What Are Some Of The Marketing Strategies You Use To Build Brand Awareness And Acquire Customers? Also, Do You See Rhone Launching Products Into New Categories Or Product Lines In The Near Future?

It starts with our core of who we are, what we stand for and being really clear about that across all of our channels and platforms.

We lean heavily into earned media, leveraging third party endorsements from media and influencers trying the product. We also do paid media on Instagram and other platforms, as well as partner with like minded fitness and health brands.

There are always opportunities to expand into new categories and product lines. While growth is always a goal, we want to achieve it in a way that makes sense for the brand and for the customer. Our product and creative teams are extremely innovative; we love to test out different products and ideas, but overall, we value the customers’ feedback and requests and work from there.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

As has been said by others, COVID didn’t necessarily change our industry but it accelerated changes that were already happening. The biggest functional change has been shifting distribution models and a push towards direct channels like ecomm and owned retail vs wholesale. The biggest overarching changes are a continued push towards brands with purpose and a focus on making responsible decisions for our climate. All of these were already core focuses for us and we have been fortunate to be well positioned moving forward.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

Morning: My mornings tend to start early. I wake up and move to my home gym and generally do a 30-40 min focused fitness session that has varied through the years. The key for me is moving and getting my body ready for the day. I then take my oldest to school who starts about an hour earlier than his peers. He’s a great kid and I really value my time with him during our drive. I then come back and focus on my day plan, clearing any emails. Next I will go meet my next 2 boys who are starting to stir and over the last 5 months we will do some soccer training together. 10-15 mins each. Then we grab breakfast together and they hop on the bus. After that I shower, get dressed and get ready for work. I try to keep my morning relatively clear for execution and limited meetings.

Afternoon: My afternoons are heavily focused on meetings. I like to go into my meetings prepared and thus really use the morning to get ready for that part of the day. They are often back to back with little break in between but it helps keep things moving and I’d rather protect consistent blocks of time in the morning vs spreading meetings out.

Evening: Evenings are heavily dependent on the day of the week. I try and keep 1 day a week for NYC days where I will often meet someone for a dinner or a later meeting, 1 night for a date night for my wife, 1 night where my wife is generally out and it’s me and the boys, 1 night for some volunteer work at my local church congregation where I get to do great activities with 14-15 year olds in a faith based environment and lastly 1 family night where we will often watch a movie or play a game together.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Top three qualities entrepreneurs should have are: patience, adaptability, and leadership.

Advice for entrepreneurs starting out:

Hire the best people possible. It’s cliché advice but it’s given for a reason — your team is the most important decision you make. From top to bottom, surround yourself with people that are motivated, intelligent, and versatile.

Define your brand’s voice and be consistent in every execution with it. This ties in with having an authentic brand, and it can be incredibly beneficial to have consistent and authentic messaging that people can relate to.

Customers crave authenticity. To every extent possible, it’s incredibly important to live your brand and to make it authentic and relatable. When you radiate authenticity, others pick up on that and will naturally gravitate towards your brand.

Don’t be afraid to go slow in the short-term so you can go fast in the long-term. Too often upstart brands come out hot without laying a solid foundation for what’s to come. It’s important to build a solid core before really looking to take off in new areas.

Get to know your customers. Spend some time with them in a physical environment and ask questions. Community feedback and relationships can be vital for an upstart brand looking to gain traction. Even with the utility and reach of online communication, there’s still no substitute for face-to-face interaction with your customers.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel and one question that was asked was, “If you could go back to your eighteen-year-old self and give one piece of advice, what would you say?” Someone on the panel shared his response and it’s something that really stuck with me. He said, “I would tell myself that there are weeds in your life and there are flowers in your life. Don’t spend your time watering the weeds. What we give life to, what we give water to, what we give air to, what we give focus to, is what grows.” So over the last few months I have reminded myself every time something hard happens that I need to focus on watering the flowers.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Honestly and not meaning to cop out here, I generally have not enjoyed conversations with famous people nearly as much as people I admire who are successful without a lot of the attention. I am drawn to great thinkers and builders. Right now, one CEO I admire is RJ Scaringe who founded Rivian and has built it into an incredible brand and company with meaning.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

One of my favorite quotes is the Rhone mantra of “Forever Forward.” We all make mistakes, take steps backward or get lost at various times in our life. And that is okay. It happens. But, if we just keep on focusing on moving forward and making progress in whatever we are pursuing, that gives life great meaning. Life isn’t like a road where you can be stationary--I’ve found it’s much more like an escalator and you are either moving forward or backward. It starts with focus and intention then a lot of work and self reflection. 

Who Is Your Role Model?

My parents are my role models. My mother is an incredibly giving human and she has always taught me how to be a more patient, caring being. My father was very successful in the workplace but was always a father first. He has never been afraid to show his emotions or lead by quiet example. I’m truly blessed to have such wonderful and inspirational parents that I admire and still learn from today.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

When I have free time, I generally love to spend it on activities with my kids. Recently we have really gotten into wakesurfing at a local lake. It’s become my favorite activity, getting in that water just refreshes me and it’s low impact but a lot of fun. It’s been great seeing my kids pick up a new skill that they can excel at.  

What Does Success Mean To You?

My parents often quoted the phrase “no success can compensate for failure in the home.” So as a husband and father of 3 that has to be the first priority for me. Raising my boys and helping them become the best they can is what will mean success for me. In addition to striving to be the best parent and spouse I can be-- I try to be all in on what I have committed to in my life. I love our team at Rhone and am committed to building a brand they are proud to work at and that our investors believe is a financial success. I am fortunate to serve as the Chairman of an incredible non profit called Beyond Type 1 which helps people globally who live with Diabetes --now both Type 1 and Type 2. And I am deeply committed to my faith and serving in my local congregation.

My hobbies tend to be focused on investing in and advising other consumer startups--that is really where I derive a lot of energy and excitement. With all of these commitments I admittedly don’t really relax well--I’ve never been someone who can sit on a beach or play several rounds of golf without getting anxious about productivity. I don’t necessarily wear that as a badge of honor--it’s just the way I’m wired. But for me, success means living a very full life, prioritizing my faith and family and positively impacting others lives through the building of great companies and brands.

  Nate Checketts’ Favorites Stack:


1. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, by Stephen Covey

2. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

3. Effortless, by Greg Mckeown

Health & Fitness:

1. Clean Simple Eats for Nutrition (the best clean protein powders and supplements in the market and incredible macro based recipes)

2. Oura Ring

3. Peloton Tread

4. Ladder Training


1. I honestly wear 90% Rhone --we believe we can handle about 90% of a modern guys closet today.

2. For formal my go to is The Knot Standard

3. For footwear I wear Taft or Wolf & Shepherd for formal and York Athletics or Adidas for active


1. Clean Simple Eats Products

2. AirPods

3. Traeger Grill

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. The Daily by The NY Times

2. Against The Odds

3. Business Wars

4. What’s Essential by Greg Mckeown

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Charleston, South Carolina

2. Iceland

- What I Found
Munjal Shah | Health IQ


Co-Founder & CEO of Health IQ, an insurance company that rewards health-conscious seniors with discounts and savings.

What Is Health IQ? Tell Us About What You Are Building And What Your Mission Is.

Health IQ is an insurance company for health-conscious seniors. We give special discounts in insurance for having taken care of their health. Our mission is to celebrate the people who have taken responsibility for their health with discounts and encourage them to continue to do so and, hopefully, inspire others to take care of their health as well.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

Living in Silicon Valley in the '80s, it was in the water, so to speak.  I always knew I wanted to build companies growing up. I'm a serial entrepreneur and Health IQ is my third company.  It came out of a personal health crisis where after I sold my last company, I ended up with chest pains the very next day and wound up in the ER. After changing my own personal health and losing 40 pounds, I decided that what I really wanted to do was help the world get a little healthier and start a company to do so.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Health is a bit like playing cards. It's the cards you're dealt with but it's also how you play the cards. I think that’s the inspiration behind the company and we really wanted to separate the two.

You can't control the first, but you can control the second. At Health IQ when we built all these insurance products, we didn't want to build products that judge you on the part you can't control. We wanted to build products that gave you a discount on the part you can control. That in essence is Health IQ. That’s why the name is what it is. That's why it's not or, but Health IQ because we're trying to emphasize the part that you can take control of, which is your own personal health knowledge.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

Some of the early days of starting a company are just magical; the parts where ideas are being born, pulling together the first few people, etc. are just magical experiences in the sense that you really feel like something is happening out of nothing. It is just a really special time in creating a company.

I think that as you scale a company – Health IQ is now approaching 900 people – there's a lot of not-so-fun stuff related to compliance, rules, and regulations that you have to follow and do well but, they’re aspects of running a company that certainly take up time without necessarily feeling like the reason you started the company in the first place.

As far as exciting moments, the day we launched our first product was really exciting. The day we sold our first policy was really exciting. The day we got to our first million dollars in sales was really exciting. All these firsts - the first time we opened our second office in San Diego. The first time we were a company that was in more than one location; when we opened a third and a fourth but that first office In Mountain View was really special. Our first company holiday party where I got to meet everybody and their spouses. I think some of the special firsts are times that you always remember.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Because I was a serial entrepreneur, the fundraising process was different. I had already sold a company and so it wasn't that hard to get funding. I was able to go to those who made money before to invest again so it was a different process than my first time when I raised money for my very first company where it was much more difficult. The second time and the third time, it got progressively easier and easier.

We used the money to build the product, write the software, launch new insurance products, build out the really big data that we needed to be able to price health conscious people. Then we also invested in both marketing and sales, because you need people to sell the product.

We brought in a very great group of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Folks like Andreesen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, Foundation Capital and Ribbit Capital, and even added some folks that came with an insurance background like Acquiline Capital based in New York. The investors have not only provided us with capital, but really a lot of company building experience and company building resources that have helped us over the years.

How Has Growth Been Over The Last Year? Anything Exciting Launching Soon?

The company has grown dramatically over the last year from 200 to 900 people and, in turn, we have people in 39 states across the country. This has enabled us to go fully remote and take care of our employees.

In addition, we've gone from one product - life insurance to three products: life insurance, auto insurance and health insurance.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business And Operation? Have There Been Any Significant Changes Over The Last Few Months As Things Have Gotten Better Overall?

Two big changes with COVID. One, it really accelerated the business. We were 200 employees at the beginning of COVID and we’re around 900 employees today.

COVID helped everybody to realize that having the right insurance - health insurance and life insurance - is really important. It took a little extra push from the pandemic, I think, to remind everybody, and our sales have shown that response.

The second part was that I shifted our whole company to remote, and then hired 700 people so, in a way, we are now not only a remote company, we're remote first. Those 700 people we hired are in 39 states and couldn't bring everyone back into the offices if we wanted to. We would have to open probably 60-plus offices just to get an office within 30 miles of each person. It's worked well. Our employees are happier because they can work out in the mornings or they can work out at the end of the day because they're not driving in traffic. It’s not only something that's made the business better, it’s something that's made the life of our employees less stressful by not having to commute. So, we've decided to stay remote first.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I am a creature of habit. I'm a big believer that one of the keys to being healthy is to sleep enough. There's so much machismo around “oh, I got 3 hours of sleep, I must be a better entrepreneur than the one who got 5 hours sleep.” That's just absolutely not true.

The beauty of working from home is that I can literally get up at 7:30, get ready, showered, have eaten breakfast, and be at my desk by 8:00am. I'm in meetings every single minute of the day, pretty much from 8:00 until 5:00pm or so. Then I rush out the door and go on a bike ride. It's my main form of exercise and I love it. I do it probably about 4 weekdays out of the 5 as I usually have some special function on Fridays. It’s about 5:15pm when I am out the door and I’ll bike until about 7:00pm racing to get home before sunset to eat dinner with the kids from 7:00 to 8:00pm. Then I'm back on my laptop working until 10:00 or 11:00 at night and usually in bed by 11:00 or midnight to do it all again at 7:30am the next day. I will usually work 4+ hours over the weekend.

Another tip - I use my calendar for everything In terms of just staying productive, including my cycling time. It’s all just a little harder when you're on Zoom from 8:00 to 5:00pm nearly every single minute of the day.

It is a little challenging, especially in the afternoons. You feel like, oh, my gosh, I wanna take a nap or something. I have found that just moving around a little bit, like taking a Zoom in the backyard on the patio. Just the fresh air and the change of scenery helps quite a bit. If it's just a one on one phone call with somebody you already know, go for a walk while you're on the call around the neighborhood.

So there's things like that that I use, just to keep the blood pumping and the energy going. Doing those things really do help, although there are no perfect solutions to Zoom fatigue.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

You must be determined - that's a very important characteristic.

I was recently on the board of a company - I had been on that board for 10 years. I helped the CEO start the company and brainstormed the idea 10 years ago. I actually worked for this man and he taught me a lot so when he started his third company and he asked me to help, I was happy to do so. The first idea didn’t quite work and he found a second idea. Then for a number of years, there were various complications where it came to a halt and he had to reinvent the idea again. He just sold the company for a good exit for himself and his co-founders and his investors, but it took 10 years. It took him twisting and fine tuning the company numerous little times, and two major times.

The other quality you must have is to be multidimensional. You can't be a “one-trick pony”. You have to be well rounded and know a little bit about everything to be a great entrepreneur; a little bit about marketing, a little bit about sales, a little about engineering. If you don't, you can't successfully hire somebody and be able to tell if they're good at that function. You have to be a bit of a renaissance person in the sense that you don't have to be an expert at any one of these things, but you do have to be well rounded in many of them.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

When somebody insists that they are something, and they say it three times to me. For example, someone saying “Munjal, I just want you to know I'm a straight shooter.” and say it again, “Munjal, you know, I'm a straight shooter,” and they say it a third time, I'm like, hmm, the only thing I know for sure is that you're not a straight shooter, but you're trying to convince me. In fact, you're really trying to convince yourself. I listen a lot to what I call the insistence rule. When someone insists on something over and over again, it is a sign that it probably isn’t true.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Any of the world’s great comedians. I find that there are so many things better said with a little comedy. I once spent a summer at Second City in Chicago learning improv. Let’s just say the teacher told me not to quit my day job, but I loved it nonetheless. It made me a better leader, communicator, and maybe even person. Seeing the lighter side of life is a gift not only for yourself but one you can bestow on a team with a simple comment at a stressful time. Comedians have a kind of genius that so many of us would benefit from.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

I love this quote from Winston Churchill: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

This quote resonates with me because there's always another chapter. When you think you're done, it turns out you are just at the precipice of something new. I think that there’s so many paths in life. One door opens, one door closes, and another door opens that you thought was gone. When I sold my company to Google, I thought I had reached this kind of financial milestone and end goal that every entrepreneur strives for. But it was not the end at all and another door opened. As I always say, I didn't find my mission, my mission found me.

Who is Your Role Model?

Honestly, I really love what Elon Musk does; the grandeur of his ideas. All these guys are like I'm gonna spend my life building this thing. And he's like, “I'm gonna save mankind from its own environmental disaster, two different ways.” He’s creating a Plan B and getting us out of dodge if we have to get out of dodge and go to Mars.

I really admire Elon, but not for the obvious stuff, it's because he is tackling big problems and isn’t just building some silly, little app or “thing”. He's tackling the problems of climate change with electric cars and the problems of if we don't solve climate change, how we're going to want to survive as a civilization - and we may need to go to another planet to do that. These are worthwhile ambitious grand visions that honestly, most entrepreneurs are too scared to have a vision that big.

Unfortunately, the lean startup model encourages the opposite of those big visions. They're, like, well, if you can't build X with 200K to get some traction, you're not worth your salt as an entrepreneur. And it's, like, well, okay, I'm pretty sure you can't get a car out with 200K or can't build a rocket with 200K. You need a lot of capital to launch companies like that; to even undertake such opportunities and so I think that's what makes him tick and very unique.

What Does Success Mean To You?

What we really want at Health IQ is to make an impact on the world. That's why I'm doing this. For me, making more money is not the answer. What will make Health IQ a success is actually improving lives and making people healthier.

  Munjal Shah’s Favorites Stack:


1. Eating on the Wild Side

2. Open by Andre Agassi

3. The Emperor of All Maladies

Health & Fitness:

1. Zwift - an indoor cycling training app

2. Tonal - weight lifting machine with electro-magnets

3. The Garmin Radar


1. Assos - cycling

2. Rapha - cycling

3. Skins - compression workout clothes

- What I Found
Matt Mullenax | Huron
Matt Headshot.jpg


Founder & CEO of Huron, a modern-day skin care brand for men.

What Is Huron? Tell Us About Your Brand And What Makes Your Products Unique.

Huron is a men’s care brand whose mission is to help guys help themselves. We’ve created the intersection of premium products and a relatable vibe. All of our competitors from a product and formulation perspective charge anywhere between 3-10x our price points. Our goal is to pass as much value -- cost savings, education, etc -- to our end customer as possible.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space. huron-home-body.jpg

My career has been in the consumer/retail space. I started my career in investment banking covering retail and consumer brands. From banking, I left to join Bonobos in the company’s infancy (6 employees), which was one of the earliest DTC brands (although ‘DTC’ did not yet exist). After Bonobos, I spent time on the investing side at a consumer PE firm.

In my investing role, we looked at so many brands targeting the female consumer and disrupting the category. Amazing product/packaging, compelling founder stories and brilliant management teams. But in my late-20s, I was still going to CVS/Walgreens and buying the exact same products that I had been using for 15-20 years. There was a massive disconnect.

Aside from the professional interest, I was also a kid that grew up with bad skin. I tried everything. I threw the kitchen sink at my skin issues. From wandering the aisles of grocery stores to sitting in sterile dermatologist offices, nothing seemed to work. I finally splurged and purchased a ‘premium’ face wash and for whatever reason, the product resonated with my skin. But I didn’t know anyone who’d a) pay that price point consistently; or b) want to go through that discovery process. So, we set out to build a brand that offers a similar level of product quality and efficacy using the world’s best ingredients, but at a much more approachable price point.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

Huron was the street that I lived on in Chicago when my skin issues were at their worst. I wake up every morning with an intimate understanding of the consumer that we’re fighting for. Because I was that guy 10 years ago.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

We operate as a small team of 4. So, there are a number of administrative tasks that we tackle on a weekly/monthly basis that aren’t the most intellectually stimulating. For me, that’s accounting-related tasks, taxes, etc.

Diving into consumer insights has been one of my favorite aspects. Understanding what makes our existing (and potential) customers tick, what problems they’re solving, and what they’re looking for in a personal care brand are data points that we’re maniacal in collecting. So digging into the data to understand how we can position and differentiate ourselves in the category is one of my favorite parts of the journey thus far.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

We’ve been fortunate to raise capital from ‘operational-angels’ and funds who have operational experience. We wanted an investor base that consists of ex-operators who have navigated the DTC and consumer landscape, who can help us think through strategic initiatives but also more tactical exercises (hiring, retail, marketing, etc.).

huron-about-02_2048x2048.jpg With So Many DTC Brands Out There In The Same Space, What Are Some Of The Marketing Strategies You Use To Build Brand Awareness And Acquire Customers? Also, Do You See Huron Launching Products In Other Categories In The Near Future?

We think holistically about our base and where they would (and would not) like to see us. We’re constantly testing new platforms and acquisition channels.

In regards to product pipeline, we will continue to launch products that we know our customers want. This intel comes from anecdotal data points (surveys) but also an intuitive conviction around certain products. Our aim is to help our consumer across the bathroom, so a number of products and product categories are in-play for us.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

Consumers are much more comfortable (and now attune to) ordering products online. E-commerce will continue to grow and scale as a % of industry-wide sales. However, Amazon has conditioned -- for better or for worse -- consumers to expect 2-day shipping. So fast turnarounds, reliable supply chains, and strong fulfillment partnerships will only grow in importance moving forward.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I’m very much a morning person. My alarm is set for 4:30am every weekday, but I’m usually up beforehand. I’ll eat a small snack, have a bit of coffee and do some work for 30-45 min before either running or going to the gym. My wife and I make breakfast together every morning around 7:45am and then we start our respective days.

We’ve been WFH since March of 2020, but have started going back a few days per week to a WeWork. Typically I’ll work until 7pm or so, break for dinner with my wife, and then address some email afterwards.

After, we’ll watch whatever show we’re into and try to be in bed before 11pm or so.

I’m a data nerd, clearly, so I leverage my Whoop to lean on sleep stats.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out? huron_pdp_jumbo-shampoo_2.jpg

Constant optimist. Believe in the mission. Set the tone for your team that you’re building something special. Something that is going to work. As a founder/co-founder, the team is looking to you for that confidence and conviction.

Adhere to the golden ratio. I once heard a business leader refer to the ‘golden ratio’ - the fact that we all have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak. Internalize the perspectives and voice of your team. What’s working? What’s causing friction and frustrations? Give your team an opportunity to voice how they’re feeling and what challenges they’re facing.

Know your limitations. We’re all guilty of trying to do everything. But it’s impossible. Even at an early-stage, you must figure out how and when to delegate. What are your strong suits that you can lean on? What are areas that are not strengths and would be too costly and/or timely to develop (e.g. Facebook media buying experience, supply chain management, etc.). Execute on the former and delegate the latter.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

I have a professional mentor who was a high-ranking senior officer in the Navy SEALs. When asked why are the SEALs so successful in their operations, he simply said ‘we don’t pick a fair fight.’

Extrapolated to the startup realm, it’s important to understand where your advantages are and how to leverage them at scale. Is it an organic marketing channel? Is it an important supplier relationship? Is it a retail partnership? Understanding your points of differentiation is imperative to separating from your competition.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Elon Musk. He’s ‘bet the house’ on his own ventures multiple times. It would be fun to learn about how to channel this ‘irrational optimism’ and building at rapid scale.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

This is my favorite time of the year. I’m a huge college football fan. Being from Ohio, Ohio State is my team. My Saturdays revolve around when they play. It’s a nice 3 hour mental break.

My wife and I have also been running together. We’re running the New York City marathon in a few weeks, so it’s been fun to train together and embrace a new challenge.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Building a brand that is customer-first and executes on our vision to be a helpful hand to our consumers.

  Matt Mullenax’s Favorites Stack:



1. The Power of Habit

2. Shoe Dog

3. Billion Dollar Loser

Health & Fitness:

1. CrossFit (I go to CrossFit Union Square in NYC)

2. Running

3. Garmin / Whoop


1. Nike

2. TenThousand / Wolaco

3. Hoka One


1. Wandering Bear Cold Brew and Jot

2. Ascent Protein (Chocolate PB)

3. LMNT (hydration) 

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. 2pm

2. Morning Brew

3. All-In Podcast

- What I Found
Marc Friedman | Cadalys


Founder & CEO of Cadalys, a company that works with the newest leading-edge Salesforce® technology to deliver superior solutions to its customers and clients.

What Is Cadalys? Tell Us About What You Do And How It Works.

Cadalys builds world-class enterprise business applications that extend the capabilities of Salesforce. The analogy in the personal computing world would be making the best apps for iPhones and Androids. We work closely with the Salesforce product teams and their customers to understand strategic opportunities to expand Salesforce’s capabilities and then build those solutions. We jointly go to market with Salesforce to deliver best-of-breed mission-critical solutions for our customers.

CareIQ is our suite for the healthcare industry. We provide best-of-breed workflows that use world-class evidence-based guidelines to achieve superior experiences and outcomes for payers, providers, patients and the pharmaceutical industry. We automate previously manual processes, which means these superior outcomes happen faster and more efficiently than otherwise possible. The CareIQ suite focuses on Utilization Management, Care Management, Triage, Pop Health, Social Determinants of Health and Member/Patient Engagement.

EngageIQ is a unified platform that enables our customers to engage more effectively and profitably with their employees, customers and partners. The Cadalys Service Management™ solution provides best-of-breed ITIL processes for ITSM and enterprise service management. Cadalys Concierge™ is a next-generation help center for self-service, ticketing and knowledge management. All Aboard™ provides best practices for onboarding, reboarding, transferring and offboarding. Collectively these three solutions provide a superior experience for employees, customers and partners. 

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I have a dual MBA in business and IT, which is a perfect foundation for this line of work. I was working at Salesforce and liaising with partners. I quickly found that I didn’t think any of the partners at the time were as good as I expected them to be. I formed Cadalys to raise the bar for what it means to be a partner with Salesforce. Today we work with a carefully curated set of Salesforce partners who have consistently demonstrated the same commitment to excellence in all they do.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name? Cadalys-Circle-edits.png

It came from a Greek word that can be translated as “enabling performance that would otherwise not be possible.” This is the way we think about our software and our customers. Our customers are achieving things with their employees, their customers and their partners that they simply would not be able to without our software. It’s a powerful and tremendously satisfying way of thinking about the work we do every day.

For example, we just won the 2021 Salesforce ISV Partner Innovation Award for Healthcare & Life Sciences, beating out hundreds of other solutions. Salesforce and IDC team to award these to Salesforce partners for outstanding innovation of transformative solutions that deliver customer success. We won because our CareIQ suite provides the innovation and transformation that enables our customers to perform at a level that is only possible with our software.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

My favorite is far and away the team that we have assembled here at Cadalys. When we win a new strategic client after beating out larger companies that have been around longer, when I see the ideas for our applications that our team has conceived and put into action, and when I receive unsolicited emails from customers telling me how much the team has transformed their business—those are always my favorite.

As for my least-liked part of the entrepreneurial journey, early on, someone whose entrepreneurial journey I respect a great deal told me, “Even when you hate it, you love it.” I definitely agree with that sentiment. If I had to pick one thing, it would be the lack of work-life balance that is typical with entrepreneurs. I don’t think it would ever be possible for me to have an empty To-Do list because there is always something more I can do for Cadalys to help move the ball forward. That’s both the pro and the con of being passionate about a company that is rapidly growing. I hear people say, “Nobody looks back on their life and wishes they would have worked more.” Well, plenty of people do look back on their life wishing they would have played a hand, or thrown their hat in the ring, or taken that one chance to build something and make a difference. So, having taken this journey, I fortunately won’t find myself looking back on my life having not taken the entrepreneurial journey and wondering what might have happened if I had.

The most challenging and exciting moments for Cadalys have been when we win a new customer by beating out competitors that are larger, more established and that have more resources than us. It’s proof of our superior team and products and is a fantastic validation of the work we are doing.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

We have been patient and focused on securing strategic investors as opposed to just funding sources. Additionally, we present a realistic data-based forecast that resonates with investors.

Our investors have been fantastic all around. They took the time to understand our business, our unfair advantages and the unique position that we are in. Our lead investor is on the Forbes Midas List and is exploring a joint venture with us in addition to their investment—it’s a huge validation for us. We’ve used the funds for two primary purposes. The first is to expand our sales team to keep up with demand. We get a lot of inbound deal flow, and this has enabled us to take full advantage. The second primary use of our funds has been R&D. We have a lot of powerful features and value drivers in our roadmap, and the expanded team is enabling us to bring these to life faster. This is helping us exploit our unfair advantages and rapidly capture market share.

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

I remember someone once saying, “A players hire B players, and B players hire C players,” and was immediately struck by how that is a sure way to sink a business. I’ve made sure to hire leadership who is better at their jobs than I am, and this has been one of the biggest drivers behind the speed of our growth.

cadalys team.JPG

Our CFO is a former serial CEO with four successful exits under their belt as CEO. They bring a logical, factual, pragmatic, and data-based objectivity to our C-suite. There are a lot of mistakes that we didn’t make because of the experience brought from four successful scale-to-exits and because the data-based objectivity prevents us from making decisions based solely on passion and optimism.

Our CRO, in addition to their prior experience as a CRO, is a former CEO and former COO. Most recently, they were leveraging this rich experience providing guidance and strategic planning to startups and growth-stage companies on how to scale fast to a successful exit. They’d been looking for an opportunity to throw their hat back into the ring at a company with phenomenal potential, and we are honored to have been chosen over the many other alternatives. What they bring to the C-suite is an uncanny ability to think in detail several steps ahead, a methodical approach to revenue generation and an infectious drive for success and constant improvement that has permeated the corporate culture.

Our CTO is the most intelligent sponge I have ever met. You can point them at anything, and they will grok it before you can Google “grok.” Importantly, this applies equally to both business and technology. This dual aptitude enables the ability to truly understand the business challenges our software is solving and how to envision world-class solutions that are both an innovative business solution and a scalable technical solution. It creates a vastly superior result. Our CTO is a visionary but also a healthy skeptic, and this complements the optimism and passion by helping the C-suite look at all possibilities. You can’t plan for the worst-case scenario if you can’t think of the worst-case scenario, and this healthy skepticism helps us make superior strategic decisions and superior software.

Anything Exciting Launching At Cadalys In The Near Future?

Yes. Stay tuned.

What Is One Thing About Building A Business You Did Not Know That You’ve Learned So Far Since Launching Cadalys?

It has really struck me how important it is to have a variety of different personalities and ways of thinking as opposed to a company full of clones. The latter is easier—it’s easy to work with people who all think just like you. However, different personalities = different ways of thinking and different viewpoints = more ways of approaching a challenge or a strategy = more opportunities for success. It can sometimes be more challenging to work with people who don’t always think like you and therefore challenge you, and the benefits in the form of additional viewpoints and approaches are totally worth it. No one person ever has all the answers and having varied personalities and varied ways of thinking create a synergy that would never be possible with a room full of clones.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Growth And Operation Over The Last Year- Especially On The Healthcare Side Of Things? Were There Any Major Adjustments Or Pivots You Had To Make Due To The Pandemic? cadalys care iq.JPG

Our CareIQ suite and EngageIQ suite enable our customers to perform more effectively in a COVID-19 world. Our team was already mostly remote—working in cloud computing means we can hire the best people wherever they may be and not need to consider their proximity to a physical office. Internally and operationally, the only material change we made in response to COVID-19 was that we had a hold on travel until the vaccines were available.

We updated the marketing and positioning for both suites to help customers understand the many ways in which our solutions help companies in all stages of a pandemic. COVID-19 has put an additional strain on healthcare companies, and we help them operate more efficiently. EngageIQ helps companies more effectively manage a remote workforce and the additional IT assets required to support them, provide faster access to better information which is important across the entire enterprise, and “reboard” employees, customers and partners with new policies and procedures related to COVID responses.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

Our enterprise application suites focus on two areas, and as a result, we have insight into both. In both cases, the change is definitive and already underway, and adaptation will be critical for the survival of businesses.

Specifically, the healthcare industry will need to operate more efficiently. For Payers, this means getting approvals/denials correct the first time, rapidly assessing Appeals and Grievances and responding accurately, and using technology to enable Population Health and Social Determinants of Health in ways that improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. For Providers, this means using evidence-based guidelines to automate approvals, to reduce readmissions, to more accurately triage patients and to similarly achieve better outcomes. For Pharma, this means bringing new medicines to life faster and at a lower cost. And all of these are true whether you’re talking about something related to COVID or something else. Payers, Providers and Pharma are going to have these efficiency pressures across the board due to the impact that COVID will have on their business.

Across industries, the post-COVID theme can be summed up as “faster access to better information.” There are many facets of this, and I’ll give a few as examples. First is one directly related to COVID, which is quickly educating and informing employees, customers and partners about policies and procedures that may impact them. Perhaps it’s onboarding a global employee base with a new set of in-office work guidelines. Perhaps it’s ensuring customers and partners understand what is expected of them in response to a new CDC or WHO bulletin. Health and safety will remain at the forefront of people’s minds more so than ever.

With the permanent increase in people working remotely, companies have additional IT infrastructure, hardware and software that needs to be carefully monitored and managed. Failure to do so will mean increased costs from unplanned downtime, from excess software and hardware inventory and from excessive support costs.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule. What Are Your Morning And Evening Routines?

I wake up between 6:30 and 7 am and play with my toddler daughter until 8 am. I have just started to successfully resist the entrepreneur’s urge to wake up and immediately respond to emails first thing because doing so trains your brain to be reactive rather than proactive. I’ll of course make an exception if I know I’m going to be needed for something strategic.

At 8 am, my daughter and I wake up my wife, and the three of us will play together for a bit. I then head down to my home office and respond to urgent emails. The specific morning and afternoon tasks may vary but usually involve preparing for and running our weekly internal All-Hands company call, having a weekly 1:1 with a direct report, joining strategy discussions with partners, or applying my focus to whatever Cadalys needs at the time.

I take an hour’s break mid-day to spend time with the family. I block off times in my calendar specifically to check and respond to email rather than leaving my Inbox open where every new email popping in could be a potential distraction. I will also block off time in my calendar to work on specific strategic initiatives so that I can work uninterrupted during that time.

I’ll usually take another family break around 6 pm or 7 pm, then wrap up work until around 10 pm when I give my daughter her “dream feed,” and then I go to bed.

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out? unsplash-image-mcSDtbWXUZU.jpg

Top three qualities:

Data-Driven: It’s natural for humans to be passionate about their work, and even more so with entrepreneurs. This passion can have a disproportionate influence on one’s “gut feel,” and I’ve seen many entrepreneurs fail because their gut was sending them in the wrong direction. It’s important to incorporate cold hard facts into decision-making. We’ve thankfully made some changes in direction along the way based on data-driven analyses, even though it seemed counterintuitive at the time.

Excellence in Delivery: If you treat every meeting, every presentation, every customer interaction and every new feature in your product like it’s critical to the success of your company, the excellence that you deliver will open more doors than you can imagine. The vast majority of Cadalys’ success has been a result of being in the metaphorical right place at the right time. I say “metaphorical” because, like my dad (a successful entrepreneur himself) often says, “You make your own luck.” Meaning, if you continue to produce amazing results, then you’ll mysteriously find yourself in the right place at the right time much more often. When Cadalys was formed, it wasn’t to build best-of-breed Health and Life Sciences solutions, and it wasn’t to build best-of-breed engagement solutions. We arrived at those, however, because we had a long track record of professionalism, exceptional quality of work and a passion for the success of our customers. As a result of that reputation, we were approached by partners and visionaries who helped us shape the ideas for our suites of solutions. We have built our business around ideas, open doors, opportunities and alliances that we would never have encountered by doing work that was only “good.”

Being a Human Weeble: There will be failures. You will make mistakes. You will feel like your career and your company are doomed. You will have other setbacks that you can’t even imagine right now. Weebles always get back up no matter how many times they get knocked down, and that is a trait that you will need to be a successful entrepreneur.

Advice for those just starting out: Entrepreneurs must also be optimists. Optimism is a great thing, and it also naturally makes people overestimate things. For example, optimists are more likely to be late because they believe they can get ready to leave the house faster or that they can do work faster or that traffic won’t be as bad, etc. Optimism tends to make entrepreneurs who are just starting out think their cash will last longer than it will, that they will land more customers faster than they will, that unplanned expenses will be smaller than they will, etc. When you are just starting out and doing your initial financial planning, force yourself to consider a worst-case scenario and factor that into your planning. Optimism is a trait with many benefits that will help you make amazing things happen, and it also can lead to dangerous overestimating.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

A good friend of mine used to work at a travel agency. One morning she got a frantic call from an irate customer screaming about how the taxi wasn’t there yet to take them to the airport, and they were going to be late for their flight. My friend was understandably confused about why this customer was calling the travel agency about this and was trying to politely help the customer. The customer screamed, “I GOT THE ITINERARY FROM YOU, AND IT SAYS THE TAXI IS INCLUDED.” My friend thought for a moment and asked, “Do you mean where it says ‘taxes included’?” Long pause...customer hangs up.

The important lesson is that something might not be your fault but might still be your problem. In no way was this the travel agency’s fault, but I guarantee that irate customer immediately swore they would never use that agency again.


Let’s say someone is trying to use a real-time traffic app on their iPhone or Android, but they forgot they turned off the GPS feature on their phone. The traffic app won’t work. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with the traffic app, but it might look that way to the customer. It's not the traffic app’s fault that the customer forgot they turned off the GPS, but when that person concludes that the traffic app is unreliable and doesn’t work, it is the traffic app’s problem. We’ve infused this lesson into Cadalys in many ways. For example, the latest release of our software makes 160 different checks for things a system administrator might have done wrong that would affect our software. Again, not our fault if the administrator makes a mistake outside of our software, but it is our problem if that mistake makes them think our software isn’t working properly. If the software detects one of the 160 mistakes, it informs the system administrator and shows them how to correct it. This new feature of our software not only reduces tickets logged with our Customer Support Center, but it also helps improve the perception of our software. Once the system administrator realizes something was, in fact, their fault, then it is no longer our problem—it doesn’t inadvertently reflect negatively on our software.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

Nobel Prize for Chemistry winners Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna. I think a discussion with them about their development of the CRISPR genome editing method, the many implications for better crops and the fight against disease, as well as the many ethical facets, would be a fascinating and enlightening hour.

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Why Does It Resonate With You?

It’s a quote by Walter Scott: “One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honor or observation.” It resonates with me for reasons I mentioned earlier about looking back on your life and feeling like you really lived it. In the current season of my life, that means rapidly growing Cadalys by providing game-changing software and enabling our customers to achieve things they could otherwise never achieve.

Is There A Parable That You Often Think About? What Is It And What Lesson Does It Teach?

A young boy, who had recently lost his left arm in a car accident, decided to study Judo. After months and months of studying, his instructor was still teaching him the same one move. The boy asked his instructor, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” The instructor replied, “This is the only move you need to know.”

After several more months, the instructor took the boy to compete in his first tournament. The boy surprised himself by easily winning the first two matches. The third match was a more difficult opponent. The opponent charged, but the boy used his one move and beat the opponent. This brought the boy to the finals.

The opponent at the final match was bigger, stronger and more experienced. It seemed certain that the boy was outmatched. However, as the match started, the boy used his one move and won the match and the tournament!

On the way home, the boy asked his instructor how he could have won the tournament with only one move when he was competing against opponents who were bigger, stronger and more experienced. The instructor replied, “You won for two reasons. First, you have been working on mastering one of the most difficult moves in Judo. Second, the only known defense against that move is for the opponent to grab the practitioner’s left arm.”

The parable teaches that what some people might label a weakness might not be a weakness at all but a strength. At Cadalys, when we are up against competitors, we know how they are going to position themselves. We know what they are going to tout as their strengths, and we have a good idea of the ways in which they are going to paint us as having weaknesses. Then, thinking about the specific customer and their business needs, we decide how to use the competitors’ strengths against them as weaknesses and how we are going to position our (mis)perceived weaknesses as strengths.

Who Is Your Role Model?

My dad. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, he has an uncanny ability to distill a situation into its core components and then communicate to people on their level and in their view of the world. This gives him a next-level ability to break through obstacles and get people on board with an idea. I bounce a lot of things off of him.

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Spend time with my family. I don’t have a lot of free time given the speed of our growth and all it entails, and I try to spend as much time with my family as possible.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Every time I get an email from a customer thanking us for helping them transform their business, that is when I have a tremendous feeling of success. Same when an employee describes how they’ve never before had the opportunity to work with such a driven and passionate team—that is another time when I have a tremendous feeling of success.

  Marc Friedman’s Favorites Stack:

headspace book.jpg


1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss

2. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni

3. The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day, by Andy Puddicombe

Health & Fitness:

1. TKO urethane hex dumbbells

2. POM

3. Headspace


1. DoorDash

2. Salesforce

3. what3words

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Pocket

2. The Economist

3. Ars Technica

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Australia/New Zealand

2. Thailand

3. The North Pole

- What I Found
Will Young | Sana
young-will CEO of Sana benefits


CEO & Co-Founder of Sana, a full-stack health insurance solution for small businesses.

What Is Sana? Tell Us About What You Do And How It Works.

Sana is a full-stack health insurance solution for small businesses. Sana customers save an average of 20% on healthcare costs while offering their employees rich benefits and access to premium virtual-first care options. There’s a lot under the hood we do to make it work, but it starts with an obsession with patients getting great care at low cost, and it turns out there are a lot of ways to make our health system work better.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company, And How Did You End Up In This Space.

I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have a lot of entrepreneurs in my family, and I looked up to them. I loved the idea of creating something new that could benefit society and building a company that people loved to work at. My Co-Founder Nathan Hackley and I came up with the idea for Sana while we were at Justworks, the payroll and benefits company we were at previously. We saw how broken and expensive health insurance was for businesses. It felt like a big opportunity. 

Neither Nathan nor I come from healthcare backgrounds. Across my career, I’ve worked in Hollywood, in big tech, and in startups. Nathan is a software engineer and designer. Being new to the industry was actually a big advantage for us. When a system is as broken as US healthcare, it can be really helpful to start with a blank slate and work on solutions from first principles. That’s how we started Sana and continue to think about problem-solving today.

sana benefits will young ceo.jpg What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company?

The best part of starting a business is the people—getting to work with a small group of talented, mission-driven people to build something new. I’m so proud of the team we have, and I enjoy working with them immensely. It’s energizing. The flipside of that is that at times we’ve hired people who aren’t a fit, and we’ve had to let them go. Managing the cases that don’t work out is the worst part of being an entrepreneur. We invest a lot in our interviewing process to mitigate that risk.

It was so challenging to get our first customer. I understood why prospects were reluctant to try Sana: Who wants to be the guinea pig for a new health insurance product? It took us a year and a half of grinding and selling before we got someone to say yes. We only had so much cash in the bank, and every month the funds depleted a little more. I had so much anxiety about it. If we didn’t land a customer, the business could have died before it even had a chance. That was the hardest phase for Sana. Landing that first customer was the most exciting moment because it marked our transition into having actual operations and things started to snowball from there.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Fundraising was very hard at the beginning. We raised angel capital fairly quickly, but institutions balked initially. We have a complicated product that spans insurance, healthcare and small business sales and most VCs were overwhelmed with the complexity of it. Nearly everyone we talked with said we were “too early” for them—even some pre-seed firms, which is hilarious. I quickly learned that “too early” was code for “I’m never going to invest.” After kissing a lot of frogs, we got lucky and found a strategic partner from the world of insurance who understood our vision (Greenlight Re) and then found a couple of VCs who didn’t mind taking bets on complicated models (Gigafund and Trust Ventures). They gave us the capital we needed to prove out the business.

Now, fundraising is easier. We have fast growth and happy customers, and it’s more about optimizing for partners and terms instead of an existential concern like it was in the early days. 

Who Are Your Co-Founders Or People Who You Work Very Closely With? How Do Their Skills Supplement Yours?

Nathan Hackley is my Co-Founder. He is excellent at many things that I am not—engineering, design, product management. More generally, he has a rare ability to understand what customers need and translate that into a technical system that delivers the solution. I am much stronger at the business stuff - finance, partnerships, growth, etc. Our skills are different, but we are very aligned on how we want to build Sana. We see eye to eye on mission and values. I trust his judgment implicitly. We both enjoy being non-conformist, which makes working together fun and probably makes us better founders. We were really lucky to join forces at the inception of Sana. We built a lot of great foundational stuff very quickly with just the two of us because we had a very clear understanding of where we were going, divided work into our separate lanes and just sprinted in parallel. 

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Growth And Operation Over The Last Year?

Sana operates health plans for our customers, so COVID was top of mind for us more than typical firms. Our member advocates and website are the front doors to care for many of our members, so we tried to help people in need as much as possible. We promoted telemedicine when people were scared to do in-person visits, promoted vaccine availability where possible and made free mental health visits available to members as the pandemic dragged on. 

Inside of Sana, we have always been a remote-first company. In that way, switching to “work from home” wasn’t much of a challenge. In fact, Nathan and I feel like many of our views on distributed work have been validated as companies test it out and find it can be really great for a lot of people.

How Do You Think Your Industry Will Change Post-COVID?

The silver lining of COVID is that it has laid bare so many issues with our healthcare delivery system and has prompted healthy responses from regulators. Coming out of COVID, I hope we see more sustained adoption of telemedicine, a relaxation of licensing restrictions for practicing medicine cross-borders, more regulations to promote hospital price transparency, and increased support for marginalized groups that are typically underinsured. 

startup sana benefits interview.JPG How Does Sana Stand Out From The Other Modernized Insurance Companies Out There? What Would You Say Is Your Core Competency?

Our core competency is a cultural one. We actually care about your experience with healthcare, and we are trying to make it cheaper and better. The incumbent carriers really don’t care about that stuff. They are too stuck in their ways, and their incentives are perverse in a myriad of ways.

Tell Us About Your Typical Workday Schedule.

I have a year-old daughter who is my alarm clock at 6:30 in the morning. I get to start every day playing with a little baby in pajamas, which I love, even though I am not a morning person. After that, I get ready for work and try to keep the first hour or two of my workday free to think and prioritize. I have a note-taking app, and I keep a daily journal where I lay out my priorities and log what I’m thinking about and whether I’m doing a good job of taking care of myself mentally and physically. That way, I start each day intentionally. The rest of my day is mostly meetings and replying to emails, sadly. It’s not very glamorous. Part of me misses the early days at Sana of focused, quiet work, where I was helping to build the products directly. My job now is mostly coordination between internal stakeholders and talking with investors or strategic partners, so meetings are the name of the game. I don’t work too late most days, maybe to 5 or 6. After work, I try to make time to work out, but I could be better about that. Most nights, I’m good at unplugging for a quiet dinner with my wife and daughter before doing our baby’s bedtime routine. 

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

You really only need one: extreme drive. If you have that, you can figure everything else out. Being a great entrepreneur isn’t rocket science. It is, however, extremely hard. Firing people is hard. Hearing “no” a thousand times from investors and customers is hard. Losing early customers is hard. Entrepreneurship is “Eating glass while staring into the abyss,” as Elon Musk says. You need to have something abnormal under the hood pushing you to persevere. 

My advice for early entrepreneurs, if you’re serious, is to start. Now. Quit your job. Pitch the idea to investors. Start hearing “no.” Stop making excuses. You’ll likely fail, and that’s fine. It’s not for everyone, but the only way to know for sure whether it’s for you is to try it.

Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

In the early days of Sana, I pitched our business idea to a number of “important” people in the industry. In one week, I pitched the CEO of a prominent insurance carrier, and later I pitched the president of an industry association we were joining. Both of those people told me Sana was a terrible idea and I shouldn’t pursue it. I felt so deflated after each call. These were people who had worked in the industry for decades and knew the business inside and out. It was hard for me as a small beans startup founder with no customers to get a meeting with them. I finally got the call set, gave them my best pitch, and they were so dismissive of all these innovative approaches I thought would work. Those conversations shook me and had me revisit all of my assumptions for the business to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time and our angel investors’ money. Ultimately I disagreed with their assessments and continued to pursue the idea.

It’s pretty clear to me now that those guys were full of it. Dead wrong. Didn’t know what they were talking about.

I take a few lessons away from those calls:

First, is that you need to build conviction in your idea from first principles, not from what conventional wisdom says. Trust your own perspective and logic.

Second, is that people who have been in an industry for decades are going to be resistant to change, even if that change makes sense. So don’t sweat it if they don’t see the world as you do.

Third, is that if your business makes sense, but industry veterans think it’s a bad idea, that’s actually something that should make you really excited.

Being contrarian and right is the only way to really outperform as an entrepreneur, and important people telling you your baby is ugly is a symptom of being onto something exciting.

sana benefits plans insurance.JPG If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be?

I’m really interested in biotech and the science behind increasing healthspan. I think the next several decades will bring some really exciting changes to our ability to program our bodies and conquer diseases. We already are seeing that in a small way with the mRNA COVID vaccines that were synthesized days after sequencing the virus’ genome. So I might meet with a scientist like Jennifer Doudna or Shinya Yamanaka, though I’d probably make a fool of myself because I’m such a novice in that domain. 

What Do You Do In Your Free Time?

Mostly I hang out with my wife and daughter. I used to read a lot and road bike, but being a Dad really sucks up a lot of free time. 

What Does Success Mean To You?

My favorite business school professor was a guy named Clay Christensen, who sadly passed away last year. He’s famous for coining the term “disruptive innovation,” and his books and class were hugely influential on how I approach company-building. In addition to his books on business, he wrote a book called “How Will You Measure Your Life” that contemplates what it means to live a meaningful life. My main takeaway from it is that success in life is ultimately about how well you cultivate relationships. When I’m at the end of my life, I hope the people around me feel like I’ve made their lives better. To accomplish that, I prioritize spending meaningful, focused time with my family above everything else. With Sana, I care about creating a work environment that people find empowering and inspiring. Ultimately I hope we build a business that makes the world a better place.

  Will Young’s Favorites Stack:



1. The Innovators Dilemma (business)

2. Foundation Trilogy (Sci-Fi)

3. The Three Body Problem (More Sci-Fi. I like Sci-Fi, obviously)

Health & Fitness:

1. Garage gym. Lifting heavy weights is the best.

2. Zero - intermittent fasting app

3. Peloton (basic, I know)


1. Chubbies (proud Sana customer!)

2. State Bags backpack for work stuff. It’s awesome.


1. Standing desk from Uplift

2. Cold brew coffee every morning

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

Bali. My wife and I were supposed to go for our honeymoon in 2020 but had to cancel. Someday we will actually do it.

- What I Found
Libie Motchan & Daniel Nelson | Fulton


Co-Founders of Fulton, a startup that offers sustainable footwear insoles with customized arch support and superior comfort.

What Is Fulton? Tell Us About Your Product and Brand.

Fulton is the modern brand of arch support. Fulton produces comfortable, sustainable, and supportive insoles. We know that full body alignment starts with your feet, and hope to educate consumers about the benefits of supportive footwear on long-term wellness. We also aim to modernize and disrupt a stigmatized category and make orthopedic insoles desirable. Finally, given that the footwear industry contributes to 1.4% of global carbon emissions, we are excited to be using sustainable materials for our entire product.

What Is Your Background? What Led You To Starting Your Own Company And How Did You End Up In This Space?

Libie: I have known that I was interested in starting a business since receiving my first allowance. I was a thoughtful hustler; curious to understand the needs of others and find ways to meet them. I thought about different ways to create value. I opened up lemonade stands in the summers, and hosted bake sales after school; eventually, I started a business on eBay when I was in sixth grade. I enjoyed working for myself and the creativity involved in building a business. Furthermore, as the child of immigrant parents, who were both business owners, I never felt tied down to traditional career paths. My mother opened and operated a gallery in Soho and my father ran a graphic design shop. They served as my inspiration and role models, and encouraged me to question the status quo. I also witnessed the ups and downs of owning a business: while my family experienced several years of financial hardship, I learned the value of hard work and perseverance. As I started my career I knew I wanted to start something that would make an impact, but also allow me to utilize my creativity, curiosity, and grit.

Daniel: I have always been fascinated by technology as a means to solve real-world problems. I started my first business when I was in college, helping connect bodegas to their local residents and facilitating convenience item delivery in 15 minutes or less. The product worked well, but this was 2015, and the market for rapid online delivery wasn’t where it is in 2021. Then, I moved into digital consulting, where I helped large multinationals across a variety of industries build technology that was able to deliver value to millions of consumers. I had to quickly learn about commercial banking, insurance, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and more for each project, and figure out how to approach each unique problem. I then went to business school, hoping to find another venture that I’d be able to launch, having experienced both starting my own company and operating at global firms. When I met Libie, we discussed our shared experiences with body pain as a result of unsupportive footwear - immediately, I realized that this industry was ripe for disruption, and that building a better product, brand, and vehicle to educate consumers provided a whitespace that other companies had overlooked.

What Was The Inspiration Behind The Company Name?

We chose the name Fulton because it alludes to a street in the heart of New York City. We wanted to build a modern brand of insoles that was relatable to modern consumers, who walk on city streets and need insoles to improve their everyday wellness, as opposed to other brands that target medical use cases or niche demographics.

What Have Been Both Your Favorite And Least-liked Parts Of Your Entrepreneurial Journey? What Have Been Your Most Challenging And Most Exciting Moments For You And The Company? _W__7830_EDIT.jpg

Libie: I never could have predicted how rewarding launching my own venture would be in so many different capacities. First, I am solving a problem that I personally experienced and that resulted in physical pain throughout my body. I have the opportunity to educate consumers, and help them prevent pain in the future, and knowing I am doing that feels really good. Nothing feels better than customers reaching out and sharing how Fulton has healed their chronic back pain, or helped their Plantar Fasciitis; but the best is when the feedback comes from people who have never worn insoles before, because that means that we have effectively educated a customer about the importance of supportive footwear. In addition to helping customers, I feel very rewarded knowing that I have built something new. I don’t have a background in orthotics or podiatry, so I had to learn so much about materials, biomechanics, anatomy, etc., in order to create our first product. It feels so incredible to know that I created something new; a physical product that is different from anything else out there. It required extensive hard work, testing, research, and iteration, but the final product is something I am so proud of.

Entrepreneurship sometimes feels incredibly uncertain. I am the type of person who prefers a clear plan: but with a startup, there is only so much you can predict. Furthermore, since so much of the industry and category is new to me, there are often many more questions than answers. I’ve learned to lean into the uncertainty, by understanding the gaps in my knowledge and prioritizing getting answers. Another challenge of entrepreneurship is balancing life and work. Fulton has become so central to my identity and my life that it is hard to turn it off, and I often don’t want to. I find myself working at all hours. The transition to working on Fulton full time has been challenging as well, and I am still in the process of creating more structure in my work life.

Daniel: My favorite part of the journey has been the fact that I get to consistently keep learning new things: no two days have ever been the same. We incubated a seedling of an idea into a physical product: finding a manufacturer, understanding the technical specifications, selecting materials, and running a pilot. We developed a brand: a name, logo, look and feel, and website. We stood up an international supply chain and launched our company during a global pandemic. The variety of the work that I have been able to do across the lifecycle of building our brand has been beyond rewarding - this has continued to be more interesting as we enter into the post-launch scaling phase of the company.

My least favorite part has certainly been importing our products from abroad. Our manufacturer has been a fantastic partner, but we have experienced extremely high shipping rates, delays, and miscommunications with nearly every shipping team we have partnered with. I’ve had too many late nights and early mornings with customer service trying to understand why our packages were being held up in customs or why they ended up in the Philippines instead of Philadelphia (true story). It’s definitely been a whirlwind, but we paid our dues and now know how it all works!

Tell Us About How Each Of Your Skill Sets Supplements That Of Your Co-Founder.

Daniel has a strong strategy, technology, and operations background, while Libie has a strong marketing and research background. Naturally, those two pair very well for building a digitally-enabled brand. We both have a unique blend of academic, startup, and corporate experience that have given us a holistic understanding of exploring unique problems and scaling solutions.

What Was The Fundraising Process Like For You? Tell Us About Your Investors And How You Use The Funds You’ve Raised.

Thus far, we’ve raised a small amount from family and friends to help get the brand off the ground. Since our launch, we’ve been blown away by the feedback from customers and are currently speaking with investors to prepare for a seed round. We plan to invest the funding towards growing the company and building out the organization. We’ve been testing several different channels and are excited to continue building them out.

_W__7140_EDIT.jpg As A DTC Company, What Are Some Of The Marketing Strategies You’ve Implemented That Have Been Most Effective So Far?

We recently launched out of home advertising around NYC; this included wheat posting at construction sites, spray painting sidewalks, and hanging pull-tab fliers around downtown Manhattan. It got a lot of buzz - we were intentionally thinking about meeting people in places where they are walking - so the streets of NYC were a natural place to go!

Do You See Fulton Expanding Into Other Product Categories Relating To Either Footwear Or Wellness In General? Anything In The Works That Will Be Launching Soon?

We’re currently hyper focused on getting our Fulton Insoles into people’s shoes across the country, but we are definitely looking at expanding into product categories. There are many opportunities to create insoles for various types of shoes and use cases, so we are working with our customers to understand their most urgent needs and build out our product roadmap.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Growth and Operation Over The Last Year?

COVID-19 made standing up a global supply chain incredibly difficult - we were only able to visit our manufacturer once (pre-pandemic) and had to prototype together from overseas for months. Additionally, shipping lead times have been long and prices have been high. Despite the operational challenges, we’ve seen some shifts in favor of our business: people are wearing more comfortable shoes, caring more about wellness and sustainability, purchasing products online, etc. It’s been a very unique time to launch a business, and we look forward to rebuilding as the world emerges from the pandemic.

What Does Your Typical Day Look Like? ATLAS_8396_EDIT.jpg

Libie: I love to start most mornings with either a run or a Pilates class. I’m fortunate to live close to the running path by the Hudson river on the West Side Highway in NYC which I’ve been taking advantage of. I usually take some calls and meetings from home, and then head out to a WeWork for the rest of the day. We’ve been switching locations everyday, so we get to mix it up with new spaces and faces. In the evenings I love cooking meals at home, or in the summer going for picnics or walks - I haven’t been living in NYC for the last two years and I love taking advantage of the nice summer evenings. I often end my evenings with some work, I find myself very creative at the late hours!

Daniel: I generally start my morning by talking with our manufacturer - they’re based in Europe, so are already well into their workday by the time I wake up. I tend to jump into a quick workout, shower, and have tea (no more coffee!) to ramp up my energy and prepare for the day. Then, I take some meetings from home and head out to the WeWork for in person meetings and strategy sessions. Every day is different, but we usually stay at the office until dinnertime. I try to take a walk for 30-60 minutes every day and either listen to a podcast or audiobook as well. I’ve always prioritized taking a nice walk to maintain mental and physical wellness - wearing a nice pair of comfortable, supportive insoles always helps. Then, I head back home and relax a bit before knocking out around midnight and doing it all again!

What Are The Top Qualities or Skills You Believe Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Be Successful? Also, What Advice Do You Have For Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting Out?

Libie:  Gritty, open-minded, and humble. I would advise entrepreneurs to be incredibly open minded, and ask a lot of questions. It’s important to get a broad set of opinions and perspectives bt take everything with a grain of salt because there is truly no “right” way to be an entrepreneur. I also think its important to be open to wearing many hats, and willing to take on any task, no matter how big or small.


Being a systems thinker- like to deconstruct complex systems and understand how things work, what incentives drive what outcomes in any given industry. You need to become the expert, so if you don’t have a true understanding of the space you are going into, you’ll need to learn how to become the smartest person about it in any given room.

Building out a vision- for me, it’s the best way to understand what you are truly solving for. Rather than just a cool idea that solves a problem, a vision allows you to build a company that will be able to self-sustain and continuously innovate. There are many great ideas, but great companies come from philosophies that are guided by a better vision of how things should work.

Ability to go from 0 to 100 on an idea- as an entrepreneur, you really need to be passionate. It’s going to take some time to truly see the rewards, and you will need to be 100% invested from start to finish. It took us nearly two years to get from idea to launch, and you’ll need to be as passionate on day 720 as you were on Day 1.

_W__7739_EDIT.jpg Tell Us A Story Of Something That Happened To You, Something You Heard, Or Something You Saw, That Either Made You Laugh Or Taught You An Important Lesson.

Daniel: Libie and I were in a business school class and we pitched our idea for Fulton. The professor, in a bit of disbelief that young people actually wanted to wear insoles, asked the students in the room to raise their hands if they currently wore some type of orthotic. To everyone’s surprise, about 75% of the room’s hands went up. It was incredibly validating to us as entrepreneurs, learning that this seemingly rare behavior is actually quite prevalent, and taught us to continue trusting our gut and our research despite what others may think along the way.

If You Can Have A One-Hour Meeting With Someone Famous Who Is Alive, Who Would It Be And Why?

Daniel: Roger Federer. I’ve been a huge tennis fan for as long as I can remember, and have always admired his ability to demonstrate true dominance, class, and leadership throughout his career. I’ve always been inspired by his work ethic off the court and his incredibly calm, effortless style of play on the court, and aspire to emulate him as I think about building out my own career and personal life.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Libie: Success means finding and pursuing a career that is fulfilling. For me, that requires work that involves creativity and challenge. I need to be solving problems that force me to think differently and creatively. I’ve always been excited about a career in entrepreneurship because it allows me to do both of these things.

Daniel: To me, success means getting to control your own life. Although I love intellectually stimulating work, I didn’t love the reasons i was pursuing them in the past: “for a client” or “for a manager.” I wanted to find my own problems and solve them, which is why entrepreneurship became so appealing to me. Granted, there’s so much on a given day that is beyond the scope of my control. However, understanding the larger vision I am building towards and getting to create my own day-to-day life in light of that has been incredibly enriching. Success means allowing me to keep controlling where I invest my time and energy, a luxury that I now hope to maintain for the rest of my career. 

  Libie Motchan’s Favorites Stack:



1. Shoe Dog

2. The Count of Monte Cristo

Health & Fitness:

1. Body By Bridget - founded by a Wharton alumni- best workout on the internet!


1. Girlfriend Collective

2. Youthforia


1. Trader Joe’s everything

2. Material Kitchen Cookware - their products are so thoughtfully designed, and make it so I can avoid clutter in my small NYC kitchen

3. Headspace

Newsletters & Podcasts:

1. Nik Sharma’s weekly newsletter

Upcoming Vacation Spots:

1. Italy!

2. Japan

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Building a Resilient Business: Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

Business development is a challenging task that requires hard work, dedication, and resilience. Even with careful planning, unforeseen challenges can arise, causing setbacks and potentially threatening the business’s survival. So, building a resilient business is crucial because it enables you to adapt to unexpected changes. It also helps you withstand unforeseen events and challenges like economic downturns, natural disasters, or pandemics. You can recover quickly and continue to operate effectively, minimizing disruptions to customers, employees, and stakeholders.

This article aims to help you familiarize yourself with several strategies, such as diversifying revenue streams, building strategic partnerships, and developing a strong company culture, among others. These strategies can help you survive and thrive in the face of adversity.

And implementing these strategies requires some initial steps, such as identifying potential challenges, factors for consideration, and more, which we shall discuss in later sections.

Let us start.

Building a Resilient Business: Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

Understanding Business Resilience

Business resilience refers to the ability of a company to adapt and withstand unexpected disruptions and challenges, such as catastrophes, techno-economic downturns, or cyber-attacks, while continuing to operate effectively.

Characteristics of resilient businesses are defined by flexibility, agility, and the ability to quickly pivot their operations and strategies in response to dynamic circumstances.

It has strong risk management practices in place, including contingency business plans, crisis communication protocols, and robust supply chain management.

In today’s world, where the pace of change and uncertainty are unstable, business resilience has become crucial for long-term success.

Companies that prioritize resilience are better equipped to navigate challenges and emerge stronger from disruptions, while those that fail (to do so) risk irreparable damage to their reputation and bottom line.

Now let us move on to.

Identifying Potential Challenges For Business

Businesses may face several challenges, including socioeconomic plunge, natural tragedies, regulatory changes, supply chain disruptions, cyber-attacks, and shifting consumer preferences.

To identify these potential challenges, you should conduct a comprehensive risk assessment that examines internal and external factors that may impact your business operations. This may involve analyzing financial statements, conducting market research, monitoring industry trends, and engaging with stakeholders.

Anticipating and preparing for challenges requires a proactive approach, including developing emergency plans, establishing clear communication protocols, diversifying supply chains, investing in cybersecurity measures, and ensuring adequate insurance plans coverage.

You must also regularly review and update your risk management strategies to ensure they remain relevant and effective in the face of evolving threats. Taking a proactive and strategic approach to risk management can mitigate potential challenges and ensure long-term success.

Moving on, we shall briefly go through and understand the

Factors to consider when implementing a resilient strategy

By implementing resilient strategies, businesses can survive and thrive in today’s dynamic and unpredictable environment. However, implementing resilient strategies can be a complex and multi-faceted process, requiring careful consideration of various factors.

So, in the following sections, we shall discuss which factors are essential when implementing resilient business strategies.

1. Business goals

Business goals provide direction and purpose to the organization’s resilience efforts. By incorporating business goals into the resilience strategy, you can prioritize your efforts and allocate resources accordingly.

Ultimately, considering business goals is critical to ensure the resilience strategy is meaningful and impactful rather than a separate initiative disconnected from the organization’s broader objectives.

2. Risk assessment

Risk assessment enables you to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities to your operations. It helps you develop a proactive and strategic approach to managing those risks. You can clearly understand risk exposure, including internal and external factors.

It enables you to develop and prioritize resilience initiatives tailored to their specific risks and vulnerabilities and effectively allocate resources to manage them.

On top of that, you can stay ahead of potential threats and position yourself to respond effectively in the event of a disruption, ultimately enhancing your long-term resilience and success.

3. Resource allocation

Resource allocation stimulates you to prioritize and allocate resources to support your resilience efforts effectively. It helps you design comprehensive and effective resilience strategies with the proper allocation of resources, including financial, technological, and human resources.

It requires a careful balance between short-term priorities and long-term resilience. By prioritizing resource allocation and aligning it with overall strategic goals, you can enhance your resilience and position your business for long-term success.

4. Leadership support

Resilient Leaders play a key role in setting the direction and priorities of an organization. Without their support and buy-in, allocating resources and making necessary changes can be challenging to ensure the organization can withstand disruptions and adapt to changing circumstances.

Leaders who prioritize resilience can also inspire and motivate their teams to embrace a culture of resilience, leading to better outcomes in the face of adversity. Therefore, leadership & team support is essential to effectively implement and sustain a resilient strategy.

5. Employee involvement

Employees are often on the front lines of any disruptions or challenges an organization may face. By involving employees in developing and implementing a resilient strategy, you can tap into their insights and expertise to identify potential risks and develop effective response plans. Moreover, employees feel valued and empowered to contribute to your organization’s resilience.

6. Communication

Communication plays a central role in ensuring that everyone in your organization understands their roles and responsibilities in the face of disruptions or challenges.

Effective communication helps to build trust, keep stakeholders informed, and coordinate responses, all of which are essential for responding to and recovering from disruptions.

Furthermore, communication is crucial to identify emerging risks and opportunities and enable you to adjust strategies accordingly.

7. Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation provide essential feedback on the strategies’ effectiveness and implementation. By monitoring and evaluating, you can identify areas of strength and weakness and adjust your strategies accordingly.

This process helps you learn from past experiences, continuously improve resilience, and be better prepared for future disruptions.

Furthermore, monitoring and evaluation can help identify emerging risks and enable you to take proactive measures to mitigate or prevent them.

8. Regulatory compliance

Compliance with regulations enhances your organization’s reputation and increases stakeholder trust, which can be critical during challenging times.

Whereas, failure to comply with regulations can lead to legal and financial consequences that impede your ability to respond to and recover from disruptions.

Therefore, you must ensure that your resilience strategies are aligned with regulatory requirements to avoid any negative impacts on their operations.

9. Technological infrastructure

Technological infrastructure forms the backbone of the organization’s operations and can be a key enabler of resilience.

Robust technological infrastructure, including hardware, software, and networks, can help to ensure that critical systems and processes can continue to function in the face of disruptions.

Moreover, technology can be used to facilitate remote work and collaboration with virtual call center software, enabling you to maintain operational continuity even during uncertain times of crisis.

10. Partnerships and collaborations

Partnerships and collaborations provide access to resources, expertise, and support you may not have. By collaborating with external partners, you can build a support network that can help mitigate risks and respond to disruptions.

On top of that, partnerships can also provide opportunities for sharing knowledge and best practices, which can help to strengthen your organization’s resilience over time.

11. Crisis management plan

In response to and recovery from disruptions, a crisis management plan provides a framework for managing the situation.

By having a clear and comprehensive crisis management plan in place, you can minimize the impact of disruptions, reduce downtime, and ensure the safety of employees and stakeholders.

With regular development and testing of a crisis management plan, you can ensure you are prepared to respond effectively to a wide range of potential disruptions.

12. Training

Employee training offers multiple benefits. Employee training ensures that employees have the knowledge and skills they need to respond effectively to disruptions. With regular training, you can prepare employees to identify and mitigate risks, manage crises, and recover quickly from disruptions. Training can also help build a resilience culture by promoting awareness and understanding of your organization’s resilience strategies and goals.

13. Continuous improvement

Continuous improvement enables you to adapt and evolve in response to changing circumstances. By continuously evaluating and refining your resilience strategies, you can identify areas for improvement, implement new solutions, and stay ahead of emerging risks.

It can also help to build a resilience culture by fostering a resilient mindset of ongoing learning and adaptation. Moreover, as disruptions become increasingly complex and unpredictable, it can help you stay agile and resilient in the face of new challenges.

Finally, it’s time to master the

Strategies for Overcoming Challenges While Building a Resilient Business:

To ensure the long-term success of your business, you must develop strategies to overcome challenges and build resilience. In the following section, we will explore some strategies to help you overcome challenges and become more resilient in the face of adversity.

1. Diversifying the business operations, products, or services

Diversifying your business’s operations, products, or services creates multiple income streams, reducing dependence on a single product development or service supply and tapping into new markets. Expanding your offerings can mitigate the impact of downturns in one area and maintain revenue streams.

On top of that, offering a broader range of products or services can attract new customers and increase market share. It makes your business more adaptable to changes in consumer preferences or industry trends. Overall, diversification can provide a buffer against unexpected challenges and position a business for long-term success.

2. Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement enables you to create a culture of learning and innovation. By regularly reviewing and optimizing processes, products, and services, you can identify and address weaknesses, improve efficiency and quality, and stay ahead of the competition. You can gather valuable insights and ideas for improvement through feedback and collaboration from employees, customers, and others.

This ongoing focus on improvement can help you adapt to changes in market conditions and maintain a competitive edge while fostering a sense of ownership and engagement among employees.

3. Effective Risk Management

Identifying potential risks and developing strategies to mitigate them helps you minimize the impact of unexpected events and ensure the continuity of operations. It includes risk assessments related to financial, operational, legal, and reputational factors and implementing measures to prevent or minimize their impact.

You can avoid potential threats and adapt to changing circumstances by regularly reviewing and updating risk management plans. Effective risk management can also help you comply with regulations and industry standards, build trust with customers and stakeholders, and ultimately protect your reputation.

4. Building strategic partnerships

Collaborating with other successful businesses enables you to access new markets, resources, and expertise to help you grow your business and adapt to changing circumstances. It can include partnerships with suppliers, distributors, or other businesses in the same industry and collaborations with academic institutions, research organizations, or government agencies.

By sharing knowledge, resources, and networks, you can increase resilience and leverage your partners’ strengths to achieve common goals. Additionally, strategic partnerships can help you stay abreast of industry trends and changes and provide valuable innovation and business growth opportunities.

5. Developing a robust financial plan

Creating a detailed budget, forecasting cash flows, and establishing financial targets are crucial to managing your resources and making informed decisions about investments, growth opportunities, and risk management strategies. Financial planning includes setting aside contingency funds, maintaining adequate cash reserves, and diversifying sources of revenue.

By regularly monitoring and analyzing financial performance, you can identify potential problems and take corrective action before they become major issues. A solid financial plan can also help you secure funding from investors or lenders and ensure compliance with financial regulations and reporting requirements.

6. Building a strong company culture

A positive and supportive culture can help attract and retain top talent, foster collaboration & teamwork, and promote innovation and creativity. A strong company culture can also help employees feel more engaged and committed to the business’s success.

It leads to higher productivity, better customer base service, and a more positive reputation in the marketplace. Additionally, a strong company culture can help you weather crises and challenges, as employees are more likely to work together and support each other during difficult times.

7. Flexibility

If you are adaptable to changing circumstances, you can quickly pivot to new opportunities, respond to emerging trends, and overcome unexpected setbacks. Resilience requires you to be open to new business ideas and feedback and regularly review and revise strategies and plans as needed.

A flexible business can adjust its operations to meet changing customer needs and preferences and stay ahead of competitors by introducing new products or services. Moreover, business flexibility enables you to quickly adapt to changes in the market, such as shifts in demand or disruptions in global supply chains.

Building a resilient business enables you to adapt and respond quickly to unexpected challenges, crises, and disruptions, such as economic downturns or pandemics.


Building a resilient business is crucial in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. It enables you to adapt and respond quickly to unexpected challenges, crises, and disruptions, such as economic downturns or pandemics. You can minimize the impact of such events, maintain operations, and emerge stronger from the crisis.

It also allows you to seize new opportunities and stay competitive by being agile and innovative. Building a resilient business can enhance your long-term sustainability, build customer loyalty, and secure future success.

Finally, with a proactive approach to building resilience into your business strategy, you can ensure your company’s long-term viability and success in an ever-changing world. You can diversify your revenue streams, adopt flexible and agile business models, invest in technology and digitalization, maintain strong relationships with customers, employees, and stakeholders, and design a well-defined crisis management plan.

The post Building a Resilient Business: Strategies for Overcoming Challenges appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
Everything You Need to Know About Playing Music in Your Restaurant

Restaurants sell so much more than just food. They’re also selling the experience. If you aren’t thinking about how to improve the ambiance to match the vibe, the menu, and your customer base, then you’re making several hiccups that could lead to ruin. The ambiance is so much more than the décor. It’s the full package. It’s the arrangement of the tables, it’s how bright it is, it’s the smell, the sights, and yes, the sounds. One of the most transient elements of ambiance is the music, but with this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to master the art of music accompaniments and what you need to do to play the right songs in your restaurant.

Everything You Need to Know About Playing Music in Your Restaurant

What Type of Restaurant Are You?

The first step is to understand what vibe you’re going for, keeping in mind that it can and should change throughout the day. Restaurants that are big date spots in the evenings can and should try to attract business workers or families throughout the day to keep business flowing in.

This means you’ll need multiple sets of music to suit the time of day and the type of customers you’re trying to attract. This music, of course, should always be themed after your menu and overall store. If you’re a traditional Italian place, for example, then opting for a few different playlists of Italian music to suit the time of day and meal should be your go-to. If you’re a fusion restaurant, you should look at more modern options.

Licensing Requirements

Restaurant music licensing laws do exist and must be adhered to. The good news is that it’s not difficult at all to play by the rules and gain access to quality playlists that, most importantly, don’t have breaks, ads, or a host. A simple business subscription to a B2B music streaming site can handle all the legal requirements and give you access to all the music and more you’ll want – without the hassle of putting playlists together yourself.

Volume Levels

There is a sweet spot when it comes to music. You never want to drown out your patrons or make it difficult for them to talk to one another. You also don’t want the music to be so quiet that your customers barely notice it’s there at all. Finding that sweet spot can take a bit of work, and keep in mind the right volume will likely change depending on how full your restaurant is.

Understanding the Acoustics

To help you get the right volume level, you need to master the acoustics in your restaurant. Flat, smooth surfaces will bounce more sound, which is why volumes will need to be lowered when there are only a few people in your restaurant. You can control this by adding tablecloths, tapestries as decoration, and using partition walls to not only divide up your space, but also break any echoing. From there, you’ll need to add smaller high-quality speakers throughout the space so that you can add rich-sounding music at the right volume, every time.

The post Everything You Need to Know About Playing Music in Your Restaurant appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
How to Identify Software Needs for your Business

In today’s digital age, software plays a critical role in the success of any business. From managing finances to communication and marketing, software has become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. However, identifying the right software for your business can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which software solution will best meet your business needs.

How to Identify Software Needs for your Business

Here are some key factors to consider when identifying software needs for your business: 1. Assess Your Business Needs

The first step in identifying software needs for your business is to assess your current business processes and determine where there may be gaps or inefficiencies. For example, do you struggle with managing your finances, or do you find it difficult to track inventory? Identifying these pain points will help you prioritize the software solutions that are most critical to your business.

2. Consider Your Industry

Different industries have different software needs. For example, a retail business may need a point-of-sale system, while a healthcare provider may need electronic health records software. Understanding the software needs of your specific industry can help you identify the solutions that are most relevant to your business.

3. Determine Your Budget

Software solutions can vary greatly in cost, from free open-source software to enterprise-level software with a significant price tag. Determining your budget for software will help you narrow down your options and focus on solutions that are within your financial means.

4. Research Available Software Options

Once you have identified your business needs, considered your industry, and determined your budget, it’s time to research available software options. Look for software solutions that meet your specific needs and are within your budget. Consider reading reviews and case studies to learn more about how other businesses in your industry are using software. If none fit the bill then perhaps bespoke software development is the way forward.

5. Evaluate Features and Functionality

When evaluating software options, it’s essential to consider the features and functionality that each solution offers. Look for software that has the features you need to improve your business processes and streamline operations. Consider whether the software integrates with your existing systems and whether it is user-friendly for your employees.

6. Assess Technical Support and Training

Implementing new software can be a significant undertaking for any business, and it’s essential to consider the technical support and training that will be available. Look for software providers that offer comprehensive training and support to ensure that your employees can use the software effectively and efficiently.

7. Consider Scalability

As your business grows and evolves, so will your software needs. When evaluating software options, consider whether the solution can scale with your business. Look for software that can accommodate your future needs and can be easily customized to meet your changing requirements.

8. Evaluate Security and Data Protection

Data security is a critical concern for any business. When evaluating software options, consider the security and data protection measures that are in place. Look for software that offers encryption, two-factor authentication, and other security features to protect your sensitive data.

9. Consider Integration with Other Systems

In today’s digital landscape, most businesses use multiple software systems to manage their operations. When evaluating software options, consider whether the solution can integrate with your existing systems. Look for software that offers APIs or other integration options to ensure that your data can flow seamlessly between systems.

10. Get Feedback from Employees

Finally, it’s important to get feedback from your employees when evaluating software options. Your employees are the ones who will be using the software on a daily basis, and their input can be invaluable in determining which solution is the best fit for your business. Consider conducting a survey or focus group to get feedback from your employees on their software needs and preferences.

The post How to Identify Software Needs for your Business appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
How Your Business Can Benefit From Shipping Containers

Shipping containers have come a long way since their original purpose of carrying cargo across the seas. Today, they have found new life as a versatile and cost-effective solution for businesses looking for storage, retail spaces, housing, and more. 

The trend of repurposing shipping containers has been on the rise in recent years, with businesses around the world seeing the benefits of these rugged and durable structures. From pop-up shops to multi-level apartment buildings, the possibilities for using shipping containers are endless.

How Your Business Can Benefit From Shipping Containers

By using shipping containers for your business, you can enjoy its many advantages, and that’s what this article is all about.

They’re Available In Different Sizes

Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes, forms, and designs to suit various needs and applications. The most common sizes of shipping containers are 20 feet and 40 feet long, with a standard width of 8 feet and a height of 8.5 feet. However, smaller and larger containers are also available, such as 10-foot and 45-foot containers.

Shipping containers typically have a rectangular shape and are made of steel or aluminum, which makes them durable and weather-resistant. They are also designed to be stackable, which allows for efficient storage and transportation.

In terms of design, a large shipping container can be modified and customized to fit a variety of uses. For example, windows, doors, and ventilation systems can be added to create comfortable living spaces or office buildings. Insulation, electrical, and plumbing systems can also be installed to make the containers suitable for year-round use. 

They’re Used To Create Offices

As mentioned earlier, businesses can use shipping containers to create offices. If your company is growing, you should find more space quickly before you get crowded in your small working space. You may want to buy a building or lease some space in a warehouse, but you’d still have to pay for utilities and maintenance.

A better option might be to use shipping containers instead. They’re sturdy, secure structures that can help you save money on your bottom line while allowing you to grow as your company expands. So, you can use shipping containers as a way to avoid having to rent more office space.

Use Container To Create Offices

You Can Use Them As Storage Units

Shipping containers are a popular storage solution for business owners due to their durability, security, and cost-effectiveness. They are especially useful for businesses that require additional storage space but do not have the budget or need for a traditional warehouse.

One of the advantages of using shipping containers for storage is their portability. They can be easily transported to a business’s location and placed on-site, eliminating the need for off-site storage facilities. This allows businesses quick and convenient access to their inventory and equipment.

Business owners can customize shipping containers for their specific storage needs. They can install shelves, racks, or other storage systems to optimize the space and organization of their inventory and supplies.

Shipping Containers Are Durable

Shipping containers are built to last a long time. They’re made from high-quality steel that can resist corrosion and rust and coated with durable paint that makes them waterproof. In addition, shipping containers are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions like hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes, so they won’t fall apart on you.

Shipping Containers Are Cost-Efficient

Shipping containers are also a cost-efficient option, especially when compared to buildings. You can buy and deliver new or used shipping containers to your site. Plenty of rental options are also available to avoid purchasing a container. This makes it easy for businesses that want to take advantage of the benefits of shipping containers but need more capital to purchase one outright. It’s also ideal for those who want to test this structure before committing themselves financially or logistically.

You Can Transport The Containers Quickly

Shipping containers are easy to transport and ideal if your company moves around. You can easily transport them then using trucks, trains, or ships. Transporting goods using shipping containers is an effortless way to handle your business, especially if you’re in the construction business, where a lot of material must be carried to the construction site. So, with shipping containers, you don’t have to worry about mobility because it’s a two-in-one storage place and packaging for ease of movement.

Aside from that, you can transport a wide range of goods. Various sizes are available, ranging from small to large. All you need to do is be able to pack them so that they remain safe, especially if the goods to be transported are fragile.

They’re Flexible

Shipping containers are known for their flexibility, which is one of the reasons why they have become a popular choice for businesses. They can be easily modified and repurposed for a variety of uses, making them versatile and adaptable solutions for a range of industries.

One of the main advantages of shipping containers is their mobility. They can be easily transported to different locations, which makes them ideal for businesses that require temporary or mobile structures. For example, shipping containers can be used as pop-up shops or food trucks that can be moved from one location to another to reach different customer bases. 

They’re Secure

In business, security is an essential feature, and shipping containers provide that security for your inventory. Shipping containers are made of steel, which makes them very secure. They can be padlocked and fitted with security cameras, alarms, and other locking mechanisms so that only those granted access can enter the container. This is particularly useful for businesses that deal in high-value goods or services, such as jewelers or art galleries. 


There are several easy ways you can benefit from a shipping container. That’s because of their characteristics, which make them stand out and be multipurpose. Shipping containers are a great way to boost your business. They’re versatile, durable, and cost-efficient.

Overall, the benefits of using shipping containers for business applications are clear. From storage to retail to housing, shipping containers offer a customizable solution that can help businesses save money, be more sustainable, and stand out from the competition.

The post How Your Business Can Benefit From Shipping Containers appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
Best Technology for Better Business Operations

With the Internet and technology, businesses are equipped with various applications, systems, and programs to help them with everything from communication to accounting to finance to management. Employees are able to work efficiently with smartphones, laptops, and desktop computers in the business world. Mobile applications have become an integral part of business software, and many companies are successful because of them.

Every industry has been affected, and it has led to a more efficient and seamless operation. In addition to enterprise apps, there are robotics and AI-based software applications that automate several essential processes in ways that are tailored to the needs of every company. They all make businesses run more smoothly, although they may be expensive. Therefore, they are well worth the investment.

Best Technology for Better Business Operations

Below are some of the technologies you must consider. The only prerequisite for these is a reliable internet connection. You can go for Spectrum if you are looking for any suggestions. The prices are pretty affordable, and the Spectrum Customer Service is equally amazing.

Download a Credit Card Reader App

Now you can use an app as a credit card reader, cutting down on the time spent on physical invoices or using a register. The days of carrying cash or keeping physical binders of invoices and transactions are over. It is also possible to send digital receipts to your clients. Furthermore, it can take care of inventory tracking, sales history, and printing out digital discounts for your customers. It simplifies processes and procedures greatly, making them much easier to handle.

Consider a Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

System programs like this automate everything and have been a key to the success of many companies since their conception. In addition to searching for records, analyzing, calculating, writing queries, setting up transactions, and many other tasks, RPA is equipped with AI capabilities. New technologies can help automate repetitive and redundant tasks, giving your employees a chance to focus on more important matters and become more productive by completing them all more quickly and efficiently.

Try a Communication App

Have you ever experienced a bad phone connection? This isn’t a problem with a communication app. The application has a chat interface with options for uploading and communication, and it also has a call button. In addition, it has a search option that allows you to search for individual posts or uploads. No more browsing through different emails for what you’re looking for. Different departments or projects can be grouped according to the number of departments or projects you have at any given time in your company. The system is also quite intuitive and user-friendly.

Adding noise-canceling software to your PC makes your online communication that much more effective and professional, so that all distracting background noises and echoes are kept out. It is compatible with any communication app and works in both directions so it can remove the noise on both your side as well as the other speaking party’s side.

Go For Cloud-based Solutions

Documents are submitted and handed in using this shared computing infrastructure. Documents that employees need to keep track of, such as time cards, expense reports, requests for information (RFIs), work records, etc., can be added to the system. By automating all data entry and organizing important files accordingly, you can save yourself and your business a great deal of time each year. An internet connection or Wi-Fi connection is all that is needed to access everything, and that can take place either on a secure network or within a log management solution (such as this one from

Get Timesheet Systems

Many companies today rely on timesheet application software. Keeping track of everything related to your employees is vital for understanding the various reports that come in. The templates you use will allow you to track everything and know when things took place. You will be able to get all the necessary information about your employees on the most accurate and correct timeframe, whether you want to know their working hours, personal requests, when they clock in and out, their accurate pay, staff on leaves of absence, receipts, approvals by the responsible staff, mileage expenses, or any other useful information.

Install a Finance and Accounting App

Finance and accounting apps are also useful for businesses. In addition to payroll services, company taxes, and employee onboarding forms, they also provide other support services. With these handy applications, you can email digital pay stubs to your employees. You can easily file tax forms, automatically deduct all employee benefits, and see when each employee is going to receive their paychecks. A lot of the tedious paperwork processes become easier to manage when you use the app.


Using technology to the fullest extent possible would be prudent for the growth and longevity of your company. No matter what changes you make to your app, program, or system, you’ll notice a noticeable difference in your business’ profits, exposure, and ranking. It’s therefore important for you to be the ultimate opportunist and integrate various technical tools that can help your business succeed.

The post Best Technology for Better Business Operations appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Michael P Shelby
Turning Your Passion into a Profitable Side Business: A Guide for Beginners

Starting a side hustle can be a great way to turn your hobbies into a profitable venture. Many successful business owners started as hobbyists, and with proper planning and setup, you can also turn your hobby into a thriving side business.

Whether you’re looking to supplement your income, gain financial independence, or pursue your passion, a side hustle can provide many benefits. However, starting a small business can be a complex process, and it’s essential to take the time to plan and set up your new venture correctly.

This article will provide tips on turning your hobby into a successful side hustle, from registering your business to setting up a website and scaling your offerings. Get ready to turn your passion into a profitable venture!

Turning Your Passion into a Profitable Side Business: A Guide for Beginners

Registering the Business

Starting a side hustle is exciting, but legally registering your business and making it compliant with all necessary regulations is crucial. Here are the steps you should follow when registering your business:

Choose a business name: Choosing a name for your business is an essential first step. Pick a unique and memorable name representing your brand and product/service offerings. Consider the length, ease of pronunciation, and any potential trademark or domain name conflicts. Select a business structure: Consider options like a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship. Each structure has advantages and disadvantages, so research and choose the best fit for your needs. Register with the government: File the appropriate paperwork and pay any fees to register your business with the government. Get the licenses and permits you need: You might need specific licenses and permits to lawfully operate your business, depending on your starting business and location. Get a federal tax identification number (EIN): An EIN, also known as an Employer Identification Number, is necessary for tax purposes.

Finding the right LLC information services to guide you through the process can also be quite helpful as well. Registering your business correctly will ensure that your side hustle is legally compliant and ready to thrive. Following these steps, you can focus on growing your business without worrying about legal complications.

Setting up Website/Social Media Accounts

Having a strong online presence is essential for any modern business, and this is especially true for side hustles. In today’s digital age, social media marketing can play a major role in helping your business reach customers and grow. Here are some tips for setting up a professional-looking website and social media presence:

Market research: Before you set up your website or social media accounts, take some time to research your target audience and competition. By understanding what type of content resonates with your audience, you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Plan your content: Decide on the type of content you want to share on your website and social media accounts. The content may include photos, videos, graphics, articles, live streams, stories, and more. A plan will help you stay organized and consistent in your content creation. Make your website professional-looking: Your website should reflect your brand and make an excellent first impression on visitors. Make sure it’s visually appealing and easy to navigate, and include a clear call to action on each page. Use social media: With over 4.2 billion active social media users worldwide, platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are excellent places to reach potential customers and build a community around your brand. Use high-quality visuals: High-quality photos, videos, and graphics will make your content more appealing and help you stand out on social media. Use images that apply to your brand and are visually appealing to your target audience. Measure your success: Keep track of your metrics and adjust your strategy based on what’s working and what’s not. This could include tracking your website traffic, number of followers, engagement rates, and more.

A critical aspect of growing your new business is establishing a strong online presence. There are over 4.2 billion active users on social media, giving you an excellent opportunity to contact customers and establish a community through social media usage. Seventy-one percent of small to medium-sized enterprises use social media for marketing.

By implementing the tips listed above, you can create a professional-looking website and use social media effectively to grow your brand and reach more customers. Pay attention to the importance of having a strong online presence, as it can significantly affect your business’ success.

Scaling Your New Business

Starting a business as a hobby is an exciting journey, but scale it to reach new heights at some point. Scaling your business involves assessing the demand for your product or service, building a solid brand, and expanding into new markets to diversify your offerings. Here are some tips to help you scale your business successfully.

Assess Demand for Your Product or Service

Before you can scale your business, it’s essential to understand the demand for your product or service. Conduct market research to identify your target audience and their needs, and use this information to refine your offerings and sales funnel.

Build a Strong Brand

Having a strong brand identity will help you stand out from your competitors and attract customers. Use consistent branding across your website and social media accounts, including a memorable logo, tagline, and mission statement.

Expand Into New Markets and Diversify Offerings

Expanding into new markets and diversifying your offerings is an excellent way to grow your business and reach more customers. Consider outsourcing specific tasks to increase efficiency, and when the time is right, seek outside investment to support your growth.

Scaling your new business requires careful planning, a focus on efficiency, and the right team and financial resources. By following these tips, you’ll be prepared for the challenges ahead and poised for increased profits.

Wrapping Up Your Journey to Entrepreneurship

Turning your hobby into a side hustle can bring many benefits and opportunities. However, it’s essential to approach it with careful planning and preparation to set your business up for success. This includes choosing the right business structure, registering with the government, establishing an online presence, and considering growth strategies.

With the proper support and resources, you can turn your passion into a thriving business and achieve your entrepreneurial goals. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back – take the first step toward your new venture today.

The post Turning Your Passion into a Profitable Side Business: A Guide for Beginners appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
The Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing and Mobile Marketing for Small Businesses

Small businesses tend to have limited resources, namely finances, staff, and time. Therefore, they need to make every effort count and avoid inefficient decisions or mistakes that can lead to setbacks. Small businesses must carefully weigh each approach’s potential benefits and drawbacks before committing to any strategy.

Because people spend 3 hours and 15 minutes daily on their phones on average, Short Message Service (SMS) and mobile marketing are two high-potential marketing strategies for small businesses to reach many customers with relatively low investments.

While both can be effective, they have different pros and cons you need to consider.

SMS Marketing Pros

The Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing and Mobile Marketing for Small Businesses

Text or SMS marketing involves sending promotional or informative text messages to mobile devices. It offers several advantages for small businesses looking to reach their target audience effectively and cost-efficiently.

1. High chance that people see and read texts

Most people will likely see your texts because they’re constantly on their phones. SMS marketing enjoys a 98% open and 45% response rate. In terms of engagement, SMS blows email open rates out of the water, which sits at around 21%.

2. Segmented lists for personalization

Your business can send texts to segmented contacts, allowing you to personalize the messages to better your customers’ experience. For example, including details such as purchase type or location can make the recipient feel like you’re speaking to them directly instead of as a faceless statistic.

3. Fast delivery

Texts send almost instantly, making them excellent for time-sensitive messages or promotions. Additionally, you won’t need to worry about whether customers are connected to the internet since SMS doesn’t require Wi-Fi to work. These features make messages such as post-purchase follow-ups or event-based sales announcements perfect for the platform.

4. Clear costs

SMS marketing can be very cost-efficient, depending on how many messages you send. Most providers charge per message or offer subscription plans, making it easy for businesses to track their spending.

5. Availability of automation

Due to the relatively simple format of SMS messages, marketers can apply automation technology easily. Small businesses can incorporate automation to optimize their marketing campaigns, from segmenting contact lists to generating text content.

SMS Marketing cons

While SMS marketing for startups and small businesses offers several advantages, there are also potential drawbacks that you should consider before implementing a campaign.

1. Strict character count

SMS messages are generally limited to 160 characters, so getting everything you want to say to the recipient can be challenging. However, you can partially circumvent this limitation by including a link to a website with more information. The character count limit can even inspire creativity, which may help your marketing effort.

2. Opt-out option

SMS marketing usually uses lists like email marketing. If customers feel like you’re spamming them with promotional texts, they will likely opt out of receiving anything further. Too many customers opting out of your SMS marketing campaign can damage your business’ image and customer relationships.

3. Potential legal concerns

SMS marketing is subject to regulations, so failure to comply can lead to fines and penalties. Study applicable laws on marketing practices before committing to an SMS marketing campaign to help you avoid costly legal concerns.

4. Limited visual appeal

Ads today need to be flashy to stand out. Since SMS messages are limited to text, there’s no room for visual solutions to appeal to customers. This limitation can be an issue for businesses that rely on pictures or videos to display their products and services.

5. Limited tracking and analytics

The results of your SMS marketing efforts may be challenging to track as you have no direct access to data. The best way to gather data would be to add the question, “How did you find out about us?” in a form, but it’s unlikely that all your customers will respond to a post-purchase follow-up.

Mobile Marketing Pros

The Pros and Cons Mobile Marketing for Small Businesses

Mobile marketing is a range of tactics and techniques designed to engage customers on their mobile devices—specifically smartphones and tablets. Popular examples are apps, websites, and push notifications. Mobile marketing offers small businesses various tools and channels to reach large audiences.

1. Adaptable audience selection

Because so many apps and websites are available, your ads and messages can target either extremely specific or vast audiences based on what you want. For example, ads on a niche app can appeal to a select group of people, while posts on more popular platforms can reach a wider audience.

2. Visual options

Unlike text marketing, mobile ads can include images, videos, and animations, depending on the platform. These options can deliver your message more cleanly and efficiently than text alone. For example, a short demo video can do more to convince an interested watcher than a paragraph about your product’s features.

3. More options for creativity

You can create campaigns that take advantage of the interactive nature of mobile devices. For example, interactive content and gamification can promote your brand better than straightforward text or images. Creative mobile ads that maximize the capabilities of a platform can leave lasting impressions on your audience.

4. Multi-channel approach

You can market on multiple channels with mobile marketing—social media, applications, email, and text—increasing the likelihood of reaching existing and new audiences. You can incorporate some or all these platforms on one device, whether your customers’ phone or tablet.

5. In-app and push notifications

Using notifications on your app or elsewhere can quickly engage with customers and notify them of time-sensitive information, much like texts. These notifications can work better as the recipient is already on an app related to your business and is more likely to notice.

Mobile Marketing Cons

Like any marketing approach, mobile marketing comes with disadvantages as well.

1. Higher costs

Given the need for specialized ads for each platform you choose, mobile marketing can be much more expensive to implement. For example, apps don’t share the same code base and ad format, so you have to tailor each ad for each app, requiring more time, effort, and money to adjust to the app’s unique requirements.

2. Requires know-how

While many channels are available on mobile devices, each requires at least some knowledge about how it works to enable you to market through it effectively. This requirement can mean understanding the platform’s culture, audience, or technical skills like programming and app design, which takes time.

3. Greater potential for annoying customers

Unlike SMS and email marketing’s opt-in lists, mobile apps reach a broader audience that often doesn’t have a say in what they see. Intrusive, annoying, repetitive ads can potentially harm your business’ reputation.

4. More competition

Mobile is such a pervasive marketing platform that nearly every company wants a slice of user attention. Even the most niche websites and apps have businesses advertising to their users. Your marketing will need to outperform a lot of competition to secure a portion of mobile’s user base.

5. Rapid, unpredictable shifts

New platforms, technologies, and best practices emerge daily on mobile platforms. The landscape constantly moves and evolves, which can quickly invalidate or counteract your marketing efforts. This concern is particularly damaging for small businesses, which may not have the resources or staff to keep track of and adapt to these changes.

How to Choose the Right Marketing Channel

When it comes to choosing between SMS and mobile marketing, there are a few key factors that you should consider.

1. Goals

What are your marketing goals, and how can these channels help you achieve them? SMS marketing may be better suited for short-term, direct-response campaigns, while mobile marketing can be better for long-term brand building and engagement.

2. Audience

Who are you trying to reach with your marketing messages? SMS marketing can be more effective for existing customers. You can personalize their experience and retarget them to encourage them to buy again. On the other hand, mobile marketing has a broader reach and may be more effective if you’re looking for new buyers.

If your products are for mobile users in general, both methods can apply. However, specialized products and services may benefit from the targetability of mobile marketing more.

3. Budget

How much are you planning to invest in your marketing campaign? SMS marketing is cost-effective, which makes it more appealing to smaller businesses. On the other hand, mobile marketing campaigns tend to be more expensive, but they have a greater opportunity for massive returns if successful.

4. Resources

What internal and external resources do you have available to execute your campaigns? A smaller team with limited expertise may find SMS marketing more accessible. If you have access to technical experts, they can make accessing mobile markets easier for your company.

Making the Call for Your Marketing Strategies

As the owner of a steadily growing small business, you have a lot of tough decisions to make. Many of them can boost or impede your growth. Choosing the right marketing channel is just one of many decisions you must make, but it can significantly impact your success.

With a better understanding of your options and carefully considering your goals, you can decide which marketing channel suits your needs and resources. It’s worth noting that these two are not mutually exclusive; businesses may find success in incorporating multiple approaches in tandem if they have the resources to do so.

The post The Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing and Mobile Marketing for Small Businesses appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike

Betting in Nigeria is a popular pastime, and with the right strategies, you can increase your chances of success. For those looking to place bets in Nigeria, it’s important to understand the legal landscape and how best to go about finding an online sportsbook that meets all their needs, the maximum winnable amount and conditions for payout. Bet Guide can help you to make the right decisions and make the most profit.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide tips on choosing a reliable sportsbook as well as discuss some of the most popular betting strategies for winning when betting in Nigeria. With this information at hand, you’ll be on your way to making informed decisions and enjoying the thrill of gambling responsibly.

10 Tips for Choosing the Best Sportsbook for Nigerian Players

When choosing your sportsbook it’s important to consider factors such as bonuses, security and customer service. Here are some key tips you should follow when choosing a sportsbook:

Make sure that the sportsbook offers good bonuses and promotions – these can often be used to improve your chances of making successful bets. Look at their security policies and make sure they take adequate measures to protect your personal information from being hacked or stolen. Ensure that they offer customer service 24/7 so you can get help if you have any issues or concerns about betting with them. Research the terms and conditions associated with each sportsbook carefully before signing up so that you know exactly what you’re getting into. Check reviews from other players who have used the sportsbook before; this will give you an idea of whether or not other people had good experiences with them in the past. Compare sportsbooks to find one that offers competitive odds; this will ensure that you have more chances of making successful bets with them over time. Be sure that they support all payment methods available in Nigeria (for example credit/debit cards, online banking services, e-wallets, etc.). Make sure they offer live streaming services so that you can keep track of your bets while they are taking place in real time. Be aware of any restrictions or limits on how much money you can deposit or withdraw at any given time; these may vary depending on where the bookmaker is based and could cause problems down the road if not properly analysed beforehand. Look into their withdrawal process and timescales; some may require additional paperwork before releasing payments which could slow down the process significantly if not taken into account ahead of time! What Are The Most Popular Strategies For Winning When Betting in Nigeria?

When betting in Nigeria there are a few different strategies that tend to be more successful than others such as value betting, arbitrage betting and using statistical analysis techniques such as detailed research within certain markets or matches involving teams/players who are particularly strong at home or away from home (ie local derbies). Here’s a breakdown of each strategy:

1) Value Betting: This is when an individual assesses potential outcomes against current odds offered by bookmakers and then makes bets accordingly due to an expected greater return than average value wins when placed correctly with careful consideration taken into risk management factors including maximum stake size per bet type & selection criteria (such as specific types/classes).

2) Arbitrage Betting: Also known as “surebets”, this strategy involves placing wagers on multiple outcomes within one event where each outcome has different odds yet still equal potential returns when combined correctly – thus allowing individuals capitalise on discrepancies between bookmaker prices & create ‘guaranteed’ profits regardless of what happens during the said event(s).

3) Statistical Analysis: By researching historical data & trends within certain markets (ie teams/players), individuals may be able to identify patterns that provide insight into future results more accurately than simply relying upon arbitrary assumptions made by others without sufficient knowledge behind them – thus giving them an edge when it comes to predicting winners & losers within particular games/matches more accurately than normal punters would naturally do so without going through such lengths!

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to waging bets as each individual’s risk tolerance & knowledge base will differ. However, by thoroughly researching potential selections before placing any wagers & utilising the aforementioned strategies outlined above – individuals stand a greater chance at making successful bets over time than those who simply rely upon luck alone! It’s also important to remember that managing your bankroll properly is key; using proper money management techniques such as setting maximum stake amounts per bet type/selection criteria can help prevent unnecessary losses in the long run. By following these steps and employing the most popular strategies for winning when betting in Nigeria, you should be able to increase your chances of success significantly. Good luck!

The post A Comprehensive Guide to Legally Betting in Nigeria appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
6 Reasons Why You Should Backtest Your Portfolio

As an investor, you need to have the right knowledge and tools available to you in order to monitor and maintain your portfolio performance. There are a number of challenges that investors face and many external factors influence the success or failure of a certain investment.

One of the most powerful tools for investors to use is backtesting. Backtesting your portfolio as an investor is a smart habit that helps you gather intel and data on the investments themselves. This allows you to make better-informed decisions that will hopefully enable your investments to flourish into something more substantial.

In a CFA Institute survey of almost 250 analysts, private wealth managers and portfolio managers, 50% of respondents reported conducting backtesting as an investment strategy within the past twelve months of the survey date.

If you decide to do backtesting on your portfolio, then it’s certainly something worth doing for the health and performance of any portfolios you manage. Whether it’s a personal portfolio or one of many you manage for clients, backtesting proves significantly effective.

This guide will share all you need to know about backtesting your portfolio and how it’s beneficial. We’ll also share some top tips on strengthening your portfolio(s).

Table of contents

What is backtesting 6 reasons to backtest your portfolio 1. Useful when using automated trading platforms 2. It helps investors understand the behavior of investments 3. Determines how much risk there is within the strategy itself 4. Helps diversify portfolios into low and high-risk assets 5. Provides portfolio managers and traders with more confidence 6. Data is always going to be useful to have available Fives tips for strengthening your portfolio in 2023 What is backtesting

Backtesting is a valuable and effective practice to assess the viability of a trading strategy through historical data. This tool that’s used in investment portfolios operates on the theory that any strategy which has worked well in the past, is likely to be effective in the future.

The same theory is played out and vice versa too. If the strategy was a poor one, producing mediocre results, then it’s likely to do the same again.

Traders and analysts, including those who manage portfolios, use this testing to analyze risk and profitability. They are able to make decisions based on this data before they invest any capital. Of course, it’s not always guaranteed to work, especially when working on the theory mentioned above.

However, for many portfolio managers and owners to be using backtesting, it seems appropriate to try it out for yourself, right?

As long as the backtesting is conducted successfully, it’ll provide positive results that give traders assurance about the strategy in question. Alternatively, if the strategy yields negative results, then the trader is able to decide whether to adjust or bin the strategy for something else.

If the trading idea is quantifiable then it’s possible to be backtested. Some traders may wish to work with programmers in order to make certain ideas testable when they’re not currently.

6 reasons to backtest your portfolio

Why backtest your portfolio? Investments are risks that are often volatile and unpredictable. While that might be true, many investments rely on strategies to provide positive results. Backtesting these strategies is a way of screening the strategy in advance and highlighting any potential pitfalls or issues within them.

While it’s not 100% foolproof in its effectiveness, it is something that’s worth the extra effort to do. Here are 6 reasons to backtest your portfolio this year.

Useful when using automated trading platforms.

Within this digital age, it’s helped many traders and newcomers to invest, to begin investing, even on limited funds. The introduction of new investment types such as cryptocurrency, NFTs and peer-to-peer lending means investors need to sift out the good from the bad.

Automation has also become widely popular amongst traders now, with an automated trading platform being an attractive prospect for those who handle multiple portfolios at once. With backtesting, it provides the results that will help the trader, tweak and adjust their current investments appropriately.

automated trading platforms

While automated trading platforms are useful for streamlining and saving time, they still need monitoring. The use of historical data to understand where investment may be heading or how much risk is attached to it, helps traders set the relevant parameters within these automated platforms.

That way, they’re helping mitigate the risk of their capital as best as possible.

It helps investors understand the behavior of investments.

Backtesting is useful for investors because it helps understand the behavior of an investment in relation to key events in financial history. For example, the pandemic caused a lot of panic among investors due to the uncertainty it caused.

According to one source, the outbreak of COVID-19 caused 28% of investors from around the world, to move a significant proportion of their portfolios to lower-risk investments.

These financial crisis events, whether they’re localized or global, do impact the behavior of an investor. Using this historical data helps investors understand their strategy’s behavior during these negative financial events. As a result, they’ll know how much they’re expected to lose roughly.

Determines how much risk there is within the strategy itself.

As an investor, the amount of risk that’s attached to a certain strategy and asset will determine whether they choose to go ahead with it or not. For some portfolio managers, they may have clients who have been specific about how many high-risk or low-risk assets they want to invest in.

The use of backtesting helps to determine how much risk there is within the strategy itself. That’s helpful for the trader to have more intel on whether it’s a viable opportunity or not. Of course, every investor is different in their approach and needs for the portfolio.

For older investors, high-risk assets might not be appropriate at this time when those individuals may be close to cashing in. Younger investors may wish to take on more risky strategies because they have time to bounce back should it fail.

Helps diversify portfolios into low and high-risk assets

In one particular statistical analysis, the researcher found that diversified investments produce higher returns and face lower risks.

Utilizing historical data through backtesting helps the portfolio manager or trader to understand what assets pose the most risk and which ones pose a lot less. Diversifying a portfolio is a great way to help spread all your eggs across multiple baskets. It’s a common attitude that putting all your eggs in one basket, is risky – and that’s true.

Even those assets with a slight degree of risk could result in a loss of capital. Whether it’s a personal portfolio or one being managed, losing capital is something you want to avoid. Backtesting is a method that is preventative in its efforts for investors making those investments.

Provides portfolio managers and traders with more confidence.

Confidence in your portfolio and how you manage your portfolio is essential. Sometimes you need to be willing to take that risk in order to reap the benefits. However, backtesting provides the backbone that investors need to take that leap of faith. At least with the use of historical data, they’ll be going into the investment with a bit more awareness of what to expect.

With more data and insight into a strategy’s potential risk, traders and portfolio managers are able to move forward with more confidence than they would have had prior to backtesting.

Data is always going to be useful to have available

If you’ve been sleeping on data, then chances are, you’re not getting the full picture when investing. As an investor, data is helpful to understand what has happened in the past, what’s occurring now, and what could potentially transpire in the future.

Backtesting is a useful practice to implement, especially as it relies on historical data to help predict how a strategy could perform in the future. While it doesn’t always work, it’s better to have some form of data to make decisions upon, rather than basing your investment decisions on assumption.

Five tips for strengthening your portfolio in 2023

If you’re looking to strengthen your portfolio, then there are some general tips that will help give it the best chance of success. Of course, none of these methods are guaranteed to provide results but they may help turn some of those losses into the occasional wins.

Don’t get arrogant Diversify your portfolio Vary the risk with assets you invest in Improve your knowledge of investment See failure as an opportunity for success

Arrogance is going to risk you slipping up on your investments. Make sure to stay humble and always look out for opportunities to diversify your client’s portfolio – or yours if it’s a personal one.

Be sure to mix your investments up with a variety of high and low-risk assets and switch your attitude on failed investments. Every failure is an opportunity for success. Improving your knowledge of investments is only going to benefit your efforts further in the future.

Try backtesting for your portfolio

Despite it not being fully truthful in the results it provides, backtesting is worth trying for portfolios, whether they’re a year old or several years old. If there’s one improvement you make upon your asset choices in this era, it’s to conduct backtesting to make more insightful decisions on which assets you decide to invest in.

The post 6 Reasons Why You Should Backtest Your Portfolio appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Jay Pharris
The Art of Business Communication: How to Communicate Effectively in Business, Including Negotiating, Managing Conflict, and Persuasion

The art of conducting business conversations and negotiations in the modern world is integral to any person whose work involves direct contact with others. However, people often can’t correctly present their views about some company actions, adequately express their disagreement concerning specific contract clauses, or find a compromise with a partner or competitor.

If you want to avoid such cases and become a true virtuoso of your craft, like the protagonist of “Thank You for Smoking,” please consider the specifics of business conversations discussed in this article.

The Art of Business Communication: How to Communicate Effectively in Business, Including Negotiating, Managing Conflict, and Persuasion

Ethical Issues in Business

So, as was already said in the introduction, business communication skills are essential for a modern person. Everyone needs it, for some people to a greater extent and others to a lesser extent. For example, a company director mastering the art of negotiations will help establish and develop business relations with partners and management.

The average office team member can communicate effectively within the workgroup. However, some people find it especially difficult to switch from ordinary to business communication because they are unfamiliar with its fundamental principles, ethics, negotiation, and preparation.

Consequently, when communicating with potential customers or partners, the latter may have a negative impression of the person, the company, and the product. The problem is pretty standard, and there is much brilliant literature to help develop business communication skills, such as “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” by R. Fischer.

Suppose you don’t have time to read this book, but necessary negotiations are coming up. In that case, this article will give you a comprehensive and clear idea of business communication ethics, the art of negotiation, and conflict management. But first things first. Сommunication is the source of human experience. It helps people understand the world and others.

At the same time, communication is a multi-sided process, and the approaches should differ in situations. Business communication ethics is a specific field, which requires people to follow certain norms, both those general to ethics and those specific to a particular subject.

Probably everyone has encountered improper service, perhaps in a cafe or convenience store. Agree that in such a case, the desire to make a purchase or place an order instantly vanishes. Now imagine a similar situation, only when signing a contract for a couple of million. Most likely, successful negotiations are out of the question if the person doesn’t know the primary business communication concepts.

Moreover, there is even such a thing as a social contract, an informal agreement, or a default behavioral norms system regulating relations in the business sphere. Failure to comply with them threatens, at best, damage to reputation, at worst, damage to the business itself. Therefore, consider the following rules when communicating with customers and partners to avoid unpleasant situations.

✔️ Please don’t exaggerate your business importance: if your words don’t match the situation, it creates a tricky situation.

✔️ Always delineate your areas of responsibility when working with partners. Keep your personal life outside the office. In business circles, it is customary not to talk about it.

✔️ Keep your word. If you promise something to a customer or partner, then deliver it. Your reputation as a business person depends on it.

✔️ Adhere to business ethics based on honesty, tactfulness, and fairness.

Preparations to Negotiations

Preparations to Negotiations

Remember: you have to prepare for any negotiation. Whether signing a multimillion-dollar contract or a job interview, preparation increases the chances of success. So the first thing to do is to answer the question, “What would make a negotiation successful?” You know your product’s pros and cons perfectly, so try to put yourself in the place of your interlocutor and understand what could interest them.

Directly there are three phases of negotiations.

The first is preparation, which includes making contact, planning the meeting, and the actual practice (gathering information about a possible client/partner, creating a presentation, and preparing a speech). The second is negotiating. The third is reaching an agreement.

The information-gathering stage plays a vital role in situation awareness. You have, of course, previously studied the subject of the negotiations because your choice didn’t accidentally fall on this or that company or specific people. The task at this level is to find data on the negotiator from the other side to identify common interests since it is easier to agree when there is common ground.

In addition, knowledge of the goods and preferences of your interlocutor will allow you to choose the right place for the meeting. Knowing these nuances is especially important in international business.

Small Talk and Powers of Persuasion

Small Talk and Powers of Persuasion

The knowledge gained from preparing for negotiations can be helpful in another aspect — small talk. So, imagine that you were met at the entrance, and on your way to the conference room, you need to talk about something. It is where small talk comes in. Usually, it starts with a dialogue like, “So, you’d have no trouble getting here?”, “Yes, thank you, your secretary did a great job explaining how to get to your office.”

On the surface, it resembles the banalest conversation between two unfamiliar people. However, there is more than just making contact. One shows concern, thus making it clear that the meeting has a specific value. The second compliments a company team member, assessing their competence, then brings a logical bridge under the non-random choice of a possible companion.

In business communication, the words spoken matter, especially at the stages of acquaintance and first contact. So it would help not to underestimate small talk about the weather, sports, politics, and the latest business trends. For example, this negotiation stage plays a vital role in Japan.

A light conversation about culture or art can last up to an hour, after which the meeting will end with an offer to meet another time to discuss business matters. For the Japanese, the partner’s personality and character are essential attributes in the image of a business person. Therefore, during such conversations, they try to determine the honesty and openness of the person.

On this basis, they decide to develop connections. And suppose you often deal with the Japanese and want to know more about business communication in their environment. In that case, you can use a writing services review website to get this valuable information while we proceed. So there are different negotiation situations on which the parties’ decision depends.

When the possible partners are equally interested in developing the relationship, the discussion will likely go quickly, and a consensus will be found. The situation is different with those whose activities are based on sales and the need to market their goods. These people work in stressful situations, overcoming skeptical attitudes, and must be able to counteract denial. To this end, they are specially trained in persuasion, a valuable skill for everyone, as discussed below.

How to Reach an Agreement and Avoid Conflicts

Ways To Make Your Business More Valuable

Richard Schell, Professor of Legal Studies, Business Ethics, and Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Academic Director for two Wharton executive education programs, and author of the successful book “Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People,” argues that agreement can be reached through six channels.

#1 Persuasion Based on Personal Interest in the Outcome

It means that your proposal can positively resolve issues or meet the needs of your interlocutor and the company in the most direct way. In a negotiation, each party has something that can benefit the other opportunity, resources, status, information, or authority.

#2 Authority and Power

You may have experienced a situation when a person more familiar with a particular subject wins a dispute over a less prepared one. This channel is used to run the company: the director gives an order, and the subordinates carry it out because they have received it from an authoritative source. By the way, the history of international relations knows many examples when the arrival and participation of a famous political figure saved seemingly deadlocked negotiations between the countries.

#3 Politics

According to Richard Schell, sociologists define politics as the processes by which people work in groups to influence the affairs of organizations. People use political leverage within groups ranging from families to corporations. A particular political move may involve considering personal interests, operating authority, relationships, shared values, and a factual basis to convince others that they are right.

#4 Rationality

Your offer to sign a contract or buy a product must be based on a rational persuasion that is acceptable, if not to everyone, then to the majority. Rational persuasion is an attempt to influence a person’s attitudes, actions, or perceptions with reasons and evidence to justify the benefits of your offer. If the reasons are meaningful and the audience is willing to listen to reason, your chances of success will increase.

#5 Visualization

Visualization refers to appealing to your audience’s goals, values, and beliefs as the basis for promoting your message. For example, visual persuasion is often based on arguments that refer to your listeners’ spiritual and human goals. The purpose of such influence is to elicit the following thought in the listener: “By owning this product, I will be one step closer to my ideal of a successful person.”

#6 Relationships

Good personal relations with your colleagues, the ability to establish contact quickly, to enter a zone of trust, to find something in common between yourself and the client determine how good a person you are, and influence the attitude of the audience towards you, and, consequently, the desire to have an everyday business with you.


Who owns the information owns the world. For example, suppose you want to master the art of business negotiations. If so, you should acquire business ethics skills, learn proper behavior during meetings and discussions, enter the right psychological mood, and know about the methods and techniques that can be used to achieve the desired result. However, be sure that the results of the spent work will bring you much more fruit than you expected.

The post The Art of Business Communication: How to Communicate Effectively in Business, Including Negotiating, Managing Conflict, and Persuasion appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
How to Use Gross Profit Margin to Make Data-Driven Decisions for Your Business

Companies across all markets and sectors face a similar challenge. They all need to break down their profit margins into comprehensive data and use it to make informed decisions about the future of their business. It doesn’t get much more fundamental than that.

Without a clear understanding of gross profit margins and the data that these margins consist of, managing a sustainable business model is nearly impossible.

The world is becoming increasingly data-driven, making those quintessential ones and zeros more indispensable to business operations than ever before. By using gross profit margin data to drive business decisions, you can enhance productivity and maintain a position of competitive advantage.

How to Use Gross Profit Margin to Make Data-Driven Decisions for Your Business

What Makes Gross Profit Margin Such An Important Metric?

In simple terms, the gross profit margin is whatever profit that is left over once you’ve paid for the direct costs of running your business. It’s a crucial metric to track because it tells you how successfully your management cohort is generating revenue.

The higher your gross profit margin is, the more effective your profit-generating strategy is. It’s a clear indicator of your business’s health and level of future sustainability.

You can use gross profit margin to inform other aspects of business, too, such as:

Management cohesion and productivity Customer satisfaction rate Monthly and annual cost upkeep

All in all, gross profit margin is an extremely important metric to follow if you’re running a business no matter what kind. And the best way to keep track of it is to utilize data-driven decision-making.

What Defines DDDM (Data Driven Decision Making)?

Data-driven decision-making (also known as DDDM) refers to the process of harvesting data from your business’s key performance indicators (KPIs) and transforming them into actionable insights. This allows you to take the raw data and turn it into more practical, usable information.

While making gut-based decisions is also important in a professional setting, data-driven decisions are the kind you can rely on to be consistent every time. When it comes to meeting goals and monitoring metrics, data-driven decision-making is the way to go.

DDDM is also the most useful way to go about tracking important metrics like gross profit margin. And without a way to track this crucial metric, other metrics become harder to monitor.

Why Is Data-Driven Decision Making So Important?

Data makes the modern world go round. We need it to break down large amounts of complex information into smaller, more comprehensible chunks that provide insight into market behavior and facilitate better productivity. Here are some other reasons why DDDM is so essential today:

Drives up sales and gross profit margins Reinforces good management behavior Tightens team productivity and performance Optimizes internal operations

Knowledge is power, and data is knowledge. Therefore, the more streamlined your data-collecting system and analysis, the more efficient and informed your business. And the easier it is to make long-term decisions based on solid know-how.

How To Use DDDM For Improved Gross Profit Margin And More

There are many ways to utilize the power of DDDM.

Gaining a better understanding of gross profit margin will help you to manage your business in a more efficient and informed way. But how do you accomplish that? Here are several effective ways to use gross profit margins and DDDM to streamline business operations:

Establish your data sources

Before you can start using your data to inform business decisions, you need to know where it’s coming from and which sources you can rely on most.

Establishing your various data sources is an important step for making sense of raw data. Some of the most commonly recognized data sources include:

Gross profit margin – This message bears repeating. Gross profit margin is one of the strongest indicators of your business’s health, so using it as a data source is very useful. Productivity – How productive is your team on an average basis? Finding out the pace, accuracy, and output level of your employees is another clear indicator of business health. Return on investment (ROI) – How much profit is your business making through new strategies and investments? Are they worth the money, or are they simply draining resources with no results? ROI is a strong gauge of productivity. The total number of customers – Is your customer demographic growing or shrinking over time? The total amount of customers your business has is an essential data source.

Establishing your data sources will help you determine which ones to focus on, both now and in the future. Select the avenues most relevant to your business and use what you find through them to inform your decisions moving forward.

Organize your data-tracking system

Data collection and tracking needs to be an organized affair. You will need tools and software programs to not only make sense of them but also to prevent confusion.

Fortunately, there are plenty of high-grade data-tracking platforms, tools, and devices you can use to organize your approach to data-tracking, most of which you can readily find online.

These tools are designed to not only organize your data but also to store it in a secure location and provide you with a wide variety of automation tools that make data analysis easy and efficient. These tools are absolutely essential for large-scale data tracking in a contemporary business environment.

Perform consistent, thorough data analysis

Once you have identified your main sources of data and developed a system to help you track them, it’s time to start practicing formal data analysis. This should be a continuous and consistent process that you do over time in order to yield the best results.

Some of the most important areas of data analysis to track include the following items:

Profit performance data Competitor performance data Present customer satisfaction rate data SEO software performance data Research on marketing tools

Being consistent about data analysis is one of the most important processes you can implement as a business. Without a consistent approach to gathering data, you won’t get an accurate enough picture of the trends and patterns you are trying to capture.

Make conclusions

The last step in the process of making data-driven decisions is to use the data you collect to draw realistic conclusions. For instance, if your gross profit margin data indicates that profit has been low for the past two months, conclude that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

From there, you can use the available data to work backwards and assess where the issue lies and what you can realistically do to change it. It may be an internal factor or an external one, and by examining the data you can pinpoint the root cause. Use every bit of data you capture as a tool to continually work on and improve your business model and your marketing—that’s what it’s there for.

Benefits Of Using Data To Inform Your Business Decisions

Aside from the fact that data is inextricably intertwined with the way businesses operate today, there are a plethora of great reasons to refine your data-tracking system. Here are five of them:

Prevent biased decisions

Bias can be dangerous, largely because we often allow it to guide our decisions without realizing it. When you use hard data instead of instinct to inform your decisions, you remove the potential for internal bias to fog up your strategy or even set you on an entirely erroneous course.

More confident actions

When you’re using unbiased data to help shape your business strategy, you can act more confidently. Data is impartial and objective, taking nothing but the cold, hard facts and showing real patterns of behavior, nothing more.

This allows businesspeople to become more decisive and confident leaders, making decisions without wondering whether they are misinformed or not.

Resolve unanswered questions

Running a business is a bit like raising a child. There are so many changes and growing pains happening all at once, it can be difficult to keep track of what is working and what isn’t. There will always be a new problem or challenge to deal with, but data can help you uncover them sooner rather than later.

Instead of trying to predict what problems will develop in future on your own, you can turn to data to visualize potential issues before your human eye can spot them.

Set realistic goals

The more informed your business is about its various trends and profit margins, the more realistically it can set its future goals. Accurate data analysis helps you cultivate a clearer picture of current operations, enabling you to set goals that are realistically achievable rather than hopeful ideations.

When It Comes To Gross Profit Margin Tracking, Let Data Lead The Way

If you know how to calculate profit margin you’re on the right track to making data-driven decisions that will benefit your business.

Whether you’re tracking gross profits or customer behavior, data is the key to unlocking a deeper understanding of the business you run. Gross profit margin is one of the sharpest indicators you have access to for understanding business health, so use it as the compass it can be.

With a plan in place to navigate your business’s operational data, you can not only improve gross profit margins, but also boost productivity, optimize management, and improve general productivity.

The post How to Use Gross Profit Margin to Make Data-Driven Decisions for Your Business appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an ATM Business

Starting your own ATM business is exciting and challenging at the same time; and, while it might seem taxing at times, it has every chance of creating profitability leading to long-term growth. The best investment in your ATM business that you can make at this point is found in the creation of your business plan. This document will coordinate every segment of your business into a cohesive picture of your ATM business, including your mission and objectives, financial projections, customer research, competitive analysis and the marketing strategies your ATM company will employ. This is the right time to get started on your step-by-step guide!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an ATM Business

Step 1: Analyze Your ATM Business Concept

No matter how large or small your ATM business will be upon startup, it is important to consider the elements that will make it viable in the ATM marketplace. Ask yourself some questions to determine if your concept is a winning one: Does the marketplace where you’ll position ATM machines already contain ATM machines owned by a competitor? Who will use your ATM machines? How much traffic will use your ATM machines? What charges will you set for various ATM functions desired by customers? You’ll want to analyze these questions and sketch out the answers before positioning your ATM machines in your business plan. 

Step 2: Research Your Target Audience and Your Competition

After analyzing your ATM business concept, the next step is to determine the target audience for your ATM machines. If you don’t have a territory already selected and contracted, consider the areas that attract the most traffic, such as shopping malls, grocery stores, busy retail districts, laundry services, and other community gathering areas. Research the areas that are highly-populated and map out the specific locations for your ATM machines. Determine ahead of time the percentage of profits you’ll need to pay to locate your ATM machines within the places of your choice. Ensure there is stable electricity and other safeguards to ensure each ATM machine placement will be secure. Each of these considerations will support your business plan and create your next steps as you prepare the ATM business for startup. 

Step 3: Create Your ATM Business Plan

It’s time to begin the building process of your business plan and, if you don’t yet have one, consider this piece on how to start an atm business step by step. You’ll want to thoroughly describe your ATM business in your plan, including your operations, resources, future plans and financial forecasts. Each section of your business plan will build on the others to create the current status and future-forward picture of your ATM business in the years ahead. Place your concept analysis, target audience research and competitor segments into your ATM business plan and add the additional segments needed as you complete them. 

The completion of your business plan may take some time and effort; however, in the immediate, it will also offer the opportunity to garner funding for your startup, if needed. Your ATM business plan can be presented to lenders, investors, banks or financial institutions to present for startup funding. You will want to continue updating your business plan in the years ahead, as it can be utilized for growth funding, expansion, franchising, and other considerations, as well. 

Step 4: Create the Financial Projections for Your ATM Business

Every professional business plan contains financial projections which include both expected income sources and expenses associated with starting the business. In addition to giving clarity to the current financial condition of your ATM machine business, the projections will help potential investors or lenders understand the financial needs and potential of your business. When calculating the financial projections, consider the cost of marketing, ATM machines you’ll need to purchase, and other necessary investments. 

Step 5: Outline Your Marketing Strategies

Your business plan should include general ideas for ways your ATM business will connect with current and potential customers. Include online outreach potential, email blast campaigns, and email announcements. Include Facebook and Instagram posts and special text offers for referrals from current customers. Every online and social media platform can become a marketing tool for your ATM business; search for the media strategy that works best; and, then, use it again.

You can start your ATM business and build an impressive and impactful business plan at the same time. The steps outlined here will bring clarity, purpose and long-term success to your ATM business. We hope you enjoy the ride! 

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an ATM Business appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
Perfecting Your Professional Organizing Business

Let’s face it: there is no way to perfectly organize a business, a home, a garage or a 4-year-old’s bedroom. As long as spaces are used in some fashion, they will become unorganized to a certain degree. However, there is hope for those of us who garner enormous pleasure from sorting and filing on a professional basis. There are surprising ways to perfect your own professional organizing business. Read on to discover just how close to perfection your professional organizing business can become.

First Things First.

If you are in the process of starting your own professional organizing business, there are some initial steps to put into place (And, don’t you love putting steps into place?). To begin, you’ll want to establish your business as a valid business and not merely a hobby. To do so, determine the legal entity of your business, open a business bank account, register your business with the state in which you live, obtain the proper insurance, and fill out the forms to secure a business license. If you do not have a business plan, use this comprehensive guide, how to start an organizing business to establish your mission, objectives, strategies, resources, and other crucial information. File everything in the proper place and then move on to discover how you can successfully scale and grow your professional organizing business.

Learn Revised Tricks and Tips to Advance Your Career in Executive Management, Perfecting Your Professional Organizing Business

1. Perfecting Your Brand Identity

In the professional organizing industry, you’ll want to create a brand that represents you and your services. The brand will contain colors, designs, a tagline, and a logo that are all memorable. You’ll then want to apply that brand to every part of your business, including your apparel, your business documents, your office design, and every component that creates the recognition of who you are and the professional organizing services you can provide.

2. Perfecting Your Marketing Strategy

To begin a strategic approach toward marketing, compile a demographic picture of who your customers could be and what they will possibly want from your professional organizing business. For example, is your customer an executive who doesn’t have time to organize the office? Or, is the customer in great need of organizing several rooms within a home? Answering these questions will allow you to aim your strategies directly at your target market. From there, you’ll want to start building marketing strategies to see which garner the most attention, drive new business and entice former customers to return. The following are proven ways to attract and keep the customers of an organizing business:

3. Perfecting Your Lead Generation

Generate leads via personalized attention to obvious areas of need. Now, I’m not suggesting you will call attention to a mess inside someone’s home. However, with small, practiced comments during many conversations, you can bring your capabilities to the attention of potential customers. Also known as “word-of-mouth,” this strategy relies on the proven track record of those who utilize professional organizers, in that they do not want to sort or organize their own professional or personal items. The word-of-mouth method of marketing can be extremely rewarding in the professional organizing industry, as referrals are highly-regarded and the results of organization are visually appealing.

4. Perfecting Your Social Media Marketing Skills

Within the social media world, there is almost no better post than one that indicates a “before” and “after” set of photos. Using Facebook or Instagram, post photos of organizing triumphs at least 2-3 times per week. The dramatic improvements displayed will generate a high degree of interest and questions from intrigued consumers.

5. Perfecting Your Website and Online Marketing Skills

If your website is a bit bland or less-than-inviting, this is the time to rebuild it by unwrapping your new brand identity, which can now be deeply embedded within the site. Everything about your website should scream “beautiful organization” and bring the audience to your door. This is an excellent time to start a blog about organizing and sharing interesting tips and tricks for readers.

6. Perfecting Your Relationships

No, this isn’t directed to your personal relationships, thankfully. This is a call out to focus on the relationships you already have with former and current clients. Although it’s easy to look past these clients; organizing is one service that calls for more. If one office is organized, it brings attention to the other disorganized offices, for example. For this reason, you’ll want to consider marketing your services on a regular basis to former and current clients. 

As the owner of a professional organizing business, there are a variety of ways in which you can perfect your marketing strategies and business functions. The value of your organizational skills will always be of interest to others and new business will always be ready to explore as you build your business for long-term growth and success.

The post Perfecting Your Professional Organizing Business appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
How to Market a Medical Transportation Business

If you’ve established a medical transportation business but are still struggling to find clients, you may want to consider your marketing methods. According to Facts and Factors, the global market for medical transport services is projected to reach approximately 114Bn by 2028, expanding at a CAGR of 4.5 percent. This information indicates a growing demand for this type of service. To capitalize on this opportunity, you’ll want to invest in effective marketing strategies that can help expand your customer base. In this article, we’ll explore essential marketing techniques that can fuel your medical transportation business to reach and attract potential clients.

How to Market a Medical Transportation Business

Create a Marketing Plan

Before implementing any marketing strategy, it is important to create a marketing plan that outlines the specific strategies and tactics you’ll use to achieve your marketing objectives. Conduct market research to determine your target audience, their needs and preferences, and the most effective marketing channels to reach them. Include tactics for building brand awareness, generating leads, and nurturing client relationships. Create a marketing budget and set specific goals and performance metrics for each strategy to measure success. To help your business effectively promote services and attract new clients, use this guide, on how to start a medical transportation business that includes additional marketing tips.

Establish a Unique Brand Identity

One of the first important marketing strategies to execute for your medical transportation business is to establish a unique brand identity that sets the foundation for all your other marketing efforts. Create a memorable name and logo that communicates the values and services of your business. Consistent messaging and visual branding across all your marketing materials can also reinforce your brand identity and create a recognizable image in the minds of potential customers. Additionally, focusing on customer service can be a key element of your brand identity to emphasize your commitment to client care, professionalism, and expertise.

Develop a Website

After creating your brand identity, you can now develop a professional and user-friendly website. Include all the information your potential clients may need, such as your services, pricing, and contact information. Additionally, highlight your company’s experience, credentials, and testimonials from satisfied clients. These highlights will help build trust and credibility with potential clients. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate, with clear call-to-action prompts to maximize your website’s effectiveness for potential clients who will want to request services or learn more about your business. Moreover, use search engine optimization on your website to improve its visibility and attract more traffic.

Utilize Social Media

Along with your interactive website, social media is another powerful tool for marketing your medical transportation business. Utilize social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to showcase your unique value proposition; such as specialized equipment, experienced staff, and caring services. To help position your business as a trusted resource for clients and caregivers, provide educational and informative content related to health and wellness, along with information on transportation services. Additionally, leverage customer testimonials and reviews on social media to demonstrate your commitment to providing high-quality services and exceptional customer experiences. You can also foster a two-way dialogue with your customers by answering questions, addressing concerns, and responding to feedback.

Advertise Online

Another highly effective way to market your medical transportation business is through online advertising. Use search engine marketing (SEM) to ensure that your services are visible to potential customers who are actively searching for your services online. This entails placing ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords related to medical transportation services. You can also use social media advertising to target specific audiences based on demographics, behaviors, and interests. To further drive conversion and increase customer loyalty, set up retargeting ads to focus on potential clients who have previously interacted with your website or social media profiles.

Partner with Healthcare Providers

In addition to online marketing strategies, partnering with healthcare providers is a practical way to market your medical transportation business. Reach out to healthcare providers, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities, as they frequently require dependable client transportation. Offer value-added services, such as on-time guarantees, customized transportation plans, and 24/7 customer support, to differentiate your business from competitors and provide a superior customer experience. Consider offering referral fees and discounts for any new clients they send your way to show appreciation for their trust and encourage them to continue referring customers.

Marketing your medical transportation business is an excellent way to capitalize on the increasing demand for medical transportation services. By utilizing both online and offline marketing techniques, you can attract new clients and grow your business. Use these effective marketing strategies we have outlined to position your business for success in a growing and competitive industry.

The post How to Market a Medical Transportation Business appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
How to Create Brand Awareness for Your Small Businesses Locally

A business can be described as an enterprising entity or organization that comes in different types and operates in various industries such as finance, retail, manufacturing, and technology.

Producing, acquiring, selling, or trading goods and services is what it entails. Businesses are typically structured in a hierarchical or bureaucratic manner. There can be different types of businesses depending on various factors. Small businesses are organizations that operate on a local or regional level independently. Locally building a small business’s brand awareness can be difficult, but there are some expert tips that can make the process easier to handle and more successful.

How to Create Brand Awareness for Your Small Businesses Locally

Starting a business is not a small task; you should focus on every aspect of improving and running it. Brand awareness is also an aspect of any business’s success. It enables them to stand out in a market and win the confidence and unwavering support of their clients. It is also simply a marketing concept that describes how well prospective customers recognize a product or service. To generate leads such as by using social media advertising, email marketing and so on can also be responsible for creating brand awareness for small businesses. These strategies emphasize customers to recognize your brand and increase brand awareness locally.

Small businesses can increase brand awareness by focusing on the details and using the internet without spending a lot of money on a marketing campaign. You may want to know how. Let’s talk about some local brand awareness strategies for small businesses:

1. Intuitive brand and clear message

To ensure that people receive a simple and easy-to-understand message about your company and the goods and services you provide, your logo, website, and social media platforms should all clearly convey the message. It is very much necessary to avoid using convoluted language or technical jargon that your customers are unfamiliar with since they should be knowledgeable about your company. Your business should look consistent, which will help build brand recognition. You should focus on unique ways of selling propositions, which will set you apart from your other competitors. Also, you should make sure that you are using high-quality images, graphics, and videos that lead to conveying your brand personality, as this can be a powerful tool for communicating your brand’s message.

2. Use social media

In this generation, social media is the most popular platform and cost-effective way to create brand awareness. Technologies play a vital role in branding your business. No one can deny the fact that it can be a perfect place to brand your business, as most people are on social media nowadays. Social media platforms are used in social marketing, which is the process of promoting and advertising goods and services to a target market. Young people mostly focus on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, while Facebook might be a better option for older people. Start by choosing the right platforms, optimizing your profiles, posting consistently, engaging with followers, using local hashtags, collaborating with local businesses, and leveraging paid advertising. Interact with your customers on social media and encourage engagement with fun contests and different giveaway ideas. It is very much effective to focus more on quality than quantity. Make sure to be engaged with followers, responding to comments and messages, and asking for feedback and input from the audience. Social media advertising can be an effective and targeted approach for creating brand awareness.

3. Blogging

Blogging can also be an effective method to create brand awareness locally. Try to create not only interesting but relevant and shareable content that you think people are likely to share with others. You should concentrate on producing high-quality content that gives readers helpful information rather than producing low-quality content. Those contents are responsible for generating more website traffic. Consider your target audience’s interests, questions and points when writing content using relevant keywords. You may develop a loyal audience and establish yourself as a thought leader in your business by continuously creating fascinating, pertinent, and shareable material.

Also read: How to Create Blog Posts That Coverts Website Visitors Into Paying Customers

4. Pay Attention to Customers

Every business depends on its customers, so they are considered the lifeblood of any business. They are the reason businesses exist, therefore, it is important to pay attention to your customers, providing them with excellent customer service.

To build strong relationships with customers and to increase your business visibility and reputation you should encourage customers to review and give feedback, engage with customers on social media offering, offering promotions and incentives. You should make your tone friendly, considerate and clear. Offer promotions and incentives to customers to create brand awareness and attract new customers like offering a discount to a first-time customer or a free product or service for referring a friend.

Try to get more positive reviews and ranking from the customers. The age-old belief that “the customer is always right” still holds true in today’s business world.

5. Influencers

As we all know today’s generation focuses more on social platforms than the real world, influencers have a significant impact on customers’ behavior and trends and can influence the purchasing decision of followers. They are individuals who have built a strong following on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, which are also the main platforms where you can create brand awareness for your business. You should find the influencer that matches your target audience, engage with them and reach out to a purpose collaboration clearing out the terms you want and what you offer in return. Influencers can help to create brand awareness for your small business by making use of their authority and influence in society. They can create engaging content that showcases your band and products and share this content on different platforms.

6. Strategic Partnership

To effectively build brand awareness for your small business locally, consider forming partnerships with other small businesses. It may be a brilliant way to market your company and attract new clients. Start by looking for companies that provide goods or services that are complementary to your own. Try to find a business similar to yours so that you can team up and host an event together. Make sure to identify mutual objectives and collaborate to develop a marketing strategy that is beneficial to both firms. You can reach more customers and raise brand awareness by combining your audiences. Agencies like SEO Stairs are there to help you in promoting your brand more precisely. Strategic alliances can benefit both companies, promoting growth and opening up new possibilities.

7. Promotional Products Get You Noticed

Who doesn’t like free products? Using promotional products can be a great way to increase brand recognition and draw attention to your company. Choose Products that are relevant to your business and your target audience. Invest in high-quality products such as pens, t-shirts or other items with your logo and clear message. These items can be included in shipments, local events or can be given as giveaway contest prizes. It can be a suitable and affordable way to promote the brand. Participation in local events, leveraging email marketing, use of local are some major strategies that help to boost your brand awareness locally. These types of marketing efforts are responsible for building brand awareness in small businesses.


Creating brand awareness for your small business locally is crucial to building a loyal customer base and ultimately increasing sales. To successfully increase brand awareness within your community, a mix of offline and online marketing techniques is needed. Business ideas of higher thinking are very much necessary. Blog posts, videos, infographics, social media posts, etc are some pieces of content that are effective ways for creating brand awareness. Building brand awareness takes time and effort, but by consistently showcasing your unique value proposition through a combination of online and offline marketing strategies, you can establish your business as a trusted and recognizable presence in your local market.

The post How to Create Brand Awareness for Your Small Businesses Locally appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
What You Need To Know About Using An Online Library

If you’re like most people these days, you probably spend a lot of time online. You might have your email account set up on your desktop or smartphone, and you could easily spend several hours a day checking social media sites and surfing the web. In addition, many people now have high-speed home internet connections that provide plenty of opportunities to check out library resources from the comfort of their living rooms. Suppose you spend a lot of time researching topics for school assignments, writing articles for your blog, or reading compelling web articles you can’t find in your local library. In that case, getting familiar with using an online library makes sense. After all, they are an excellent option for those who don’t live close to a public library because they’re always accessible from home! Here is everything you need to know about using an online library:

What You Need To Know About Using An Online Library

What Is An Online Library?

Online libraries have been around since the early 1990s, but they are only recently becoming more popular. Because they are self-contained and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, they’re an excellent option for research and reference. An online library is a web resource that provides access to books, journals, and other materials using a desktop or smartphone. There are many advantages to using these resources. Many people use them because they’re frequently updated and offer an extensive collection of materials that may not be regularly accessible to a local library. In addition, many online libraries provide advanced features like academic tracking that may be unavailable in your local library. Online libraries are commonly referred to as digital libraries and may also be called virtual libraries, online bookstores, or electronic collections. You may also find online libraries specific to a particular field, like veterinary libraries containing veterinary journals and books. 

An online library is a web resource that provides access to books, journals, and other materials using a desktop or smartphone.

How to Use an Online Library

Before you use an online library, you’ll want to ensure you create an account and have your username and password. This information may vary from one library to another, but you’ll usually find it somewhere on the library’s website. Once you have your username and password, you can explore the library’s resources. You’ll usually begin by selecting a specific topic or keyword you’re interested in researching. It will help you narrow down your results so you can spend more time reading articles and less time scrolling through pages that don’t relate to your subject.

Also read: How to Start a Book Review Blog in 7 Steps

Once you’ve picked a topic, you can browse the library’s resources by subject or author. If you’re looking for books or journal articles by a specific author, you can easily filter your results by the author’s name. You can filter your results if you’re looking for a particular book. You can also find books and journal articles based on the name of a person, a place, or an event.

Why Do People Use an Online Library?

Online libraries differ from local libraries in many ways. Some good online libraries include Google Books, and LibGen due to the extensive benefits they offer to users which include:

Save Time On Traveling: Online libraries are quick and easy to use. You don’t have to visit physical branches, stand in line, or deal with crowded bookshelves and limited space. Find Information Easily: You can easily search the available resources and sort them into categories or subcategories to quickly find your need. Access Rich Content: Online libraries are generally rich in content, and you can easily view documents such as eBooks, journals, and articles. Save Money: Since there are no physical branches to maintain and no bookshelves to stock, online libraries are much cheaper to operate than brick-and-mortar libraries. Many of them are entirely free. Create A Digital Library: If you decide to use an online library long term, you can create a digital library. It will allow you to access your materials from any computer or mobile device. Drawbacks of Using an Online Library

Online libraries of different applications offer different types of services with different features. Below we listed some of the drawbacks of online libraries that you’ll find on some online libraries.

Longer Research Times: Online libraries can take longer when you research because you have to use your computer, smartphone, or tablet to access the library. If you have a slow internet connection or you’re exploring from a device with a smaller screen, like a smartphone or tablet, this could lengthen your research times. Limited Selection: While many online libraries have extensive collections updated frequently, others may have less extensive collections than your local library. Finding specific resources that other libraries need to access regularly could be challenging. Is It Legal To Use An Online Library?

It varies as many online libraries offer legal reading materials like the ones previously mentioned. At the same time, some are illegal to use as they often offer copyrighted materials. Most libraries that provide online resources will ask you for a username and password to log in and use them. Most libraries will require you to agree to their terms of use so you’re not accessing their resources illegally. Some libraries will require that you agree to the terms of service before you can use their help, but others will let you access their resources immediately. In some cases, you’ll be required to accept the terms of use before you can use an online library, but at other times you can use an online library immediately.

Final Words: Is a Virtual Library Right for You?

Using an online library can significantly complement your traditional library use. Most libraries provide extensive collections and advanced databases unavailable in a local library. If you live in a remote area where it’s difficult to travel to a traditional library, using an online library may be your only option. Online libraries are often available from anywhere with internet access. They’re also usually accessible from more devices, so you don’t have to worry about which library you can access from where. Overall, an online library could be the best option if you live in a remote area where traveling to a traditional library is difficult.

The post What You Need To Know About Using An Online Library appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
Mark Lyttleton: How to Be an Effective Entrepreneur

Angel investor, business mentor and professional speaker Mark Lyttleton supports founders of early-stage companies, providing not just professional insights but also personal advice, helping entrepreneurs to negotiate the challenges and stresses involved in establishing and growing their businesses. This article will outline the skills and mentality required to build a successful business.

Successful entrepreneurship requires founders to forge their own paths. Rather than relying on luck, business leaders have to be persistent, finding an audience to serve by learning their market inside out and keeping a keen lookout for potential challenges and opportunities.

How to Be an Effective Entrepreneur

In terms of the key to successful entrepreneurship, there is no single cookie-cutter answer that applies universally to all. However, inexperienced founders can stack the odds in their favour by following a few simple rules.

Hire Competent Staff and Delegate

A major stumbling block for many entrepreneurs is the reluctance to relinquish control over certain aspects of their business, with the entrepreneur trying to do it all by themselves. However, it is crucial for business leaders to adopt a realistic attitude, identifying their own strengths and weaknesses and delegating tasks that could better be fulfilled by others. This frees up entrepreneurs to concentrate on the aspects of running their business that they bring the most value to.

Sometimes, it takes the entrepreneur to come to the point where they feel completely overwhelmed before they fully appreciate the importance of effective delegation. Taking on employees is a long-term commitment – it is a decision not to be rushed into or taken lightly. However, thanks to the gig economy, there is an abundance of freelancers and contractors that entrepreneurs can turn to today.

Accept That Taking Risks Is an Unavoidable Part of Business

Richard Branson left school at 16 and started selling a student magazine. When that enterprise hit the buffers, he set up a mail-order music business with a phone box as his office, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fear of failure can quickly lead to inertia, a state that can often be the kiss of death for any early-stage business. Not every business succeeds, and the occasional failure is par for the course for many business leaders. Indeed, some wear it as a badge of honour. Perhaps the concept was just not right, the market climate was wrong or the competition turned out to be tougher than anticipated. Sometimes, completely unforeseeable situations arise, ruining an entrepreneur’s momentum. However, it is crucial for founders to take calculated risks in establishing and growing their businesses.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Many people associate entrepreneurship with burning the midnight oil: the founder working 18-hour days, eating, sleeping and breathing their business, with little time left for anything else. However, in reality, it is essential for business leaders to strike the right work-life balance, otherwise, they leave themselves exposed to the very real risk of burnout.

Working every minute of every day is simply not enough to ensure an entrepreneur of success. In fact, in all likelihood, such an approach may well be a form of self-sabotage. Overwork leads to fatigue. Fatigue leads to mistakes, which could prove very costly for an entrepreneur in the process of building their business. It is therefore vital to strike the right balance, with business leaders investing in their own personal well-being to help them stay on top of their game.

The post Mark Lyttleton: How to Be an Effective Entrepreneur appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Fahad Khan
Overcoming Fear and Failure: Lessons Learned from Successful Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship appeals to forward-thinking minds capable of strategically balancing risk and rewards. Any kind of business venture regardless of the industry comes with some associated risks of failure.

However, would it really be logical to pass on lucrative opportunities to grow your business for the fear of failure? Here comes the time for overcoming fear to take your business to new heights. Successful entrepreneurs didn’t succeed by avoiding challenges – they had to take risks and overcome them too. In the entrepreneurial world, there’s no reward without risk.

Fear in entrepreneurial ventures – is it normal?

Let’s get one thing straight – there’s nothing wrong with feeling fear over a potential risk, especially one that can be disastrous for your business. Fear is a natural emotion and has its own roles to play. It’s fear that encourages entrepreneurs to seek the support of mentors when needed. It’s fear that pushes you to work harder and devise new solutions.

It’s rather normal feel afraid to invest your hard-earned money into your venture or start an ambitious or innovative project. Even the most successful entrepreneurs have experienced the fear of:

Failure Change Making mistakes Letting people down The unknown

…and more.

However, an entrepreneur consumed by fear would be too unwilling to invest in new ventures that can help the business grow. It’s through a balance of risk and security that successful entrepreneurs achieved what they did.

Overcoming Fear and Failure: Lessons Learned from Successful Entrepreneurs

10 tips from successful entrepreneurs on overcoming fear and failure  1. Don’t let failure define you

To succeed as an entrepreneur, keep in mind that you’re the one who defines failure – not the other way around. Failures are a part of your entrepreneurial journey, but don’t let them define you. Most importantly, it is you who decides whether it’s a failure of your venture or just a learning experience.

Entrepreneurs with a positive and learning mindset go with the latter. Learn from your mistakes, and don’t repeat them moving forward.

2. Consider all possibilities

It’s only normal to be afraid of the unknown when you don’t know what outcome your decision will bear. The easiest solution to overcoming fear of the unknown is to consider all possible negative outcomes and think of the respective solutions.

Imagine the worst-case scenario and decide how you’d respond to it. We aren’t advising you to be pessimistic, but it’s best to stay prepared for the worst. Once you’ve decided how you’ll counter the negative outcome, it naturally rules out fear of the unknown.

3. Practice patience and restraint

Don’t let fear rush you into making hasty decisions. Remember, whether it is a regional market or a cross border e-commerce platform, successful entrepreneurs run their ventures with patience. Practicing restraint and putting adequate thought into your business decisions is the key to overcoming failure in entrepreneurship. For instance, don’t panic and abandon your new venture at the first signs of problems – learn to face them. If you’re starting a side hustle alongside your main business, don’t leave the latter just yet unless you have to.

4. Seek counsel and information

Do not hesitate to seek the support and counsel of those who might be able to help. Successful entrepreneurs are often known to build a network of mentors who guide them in overcoming failure and making the right decisions. Formal and informal education on different topics can be of great help too. As they say, it’s never too late to learn.

The concept is rather simple. The more you understand what you’re dealing with and how to go about it, the less fear it would cause. You can’t really be confident about growing your venture unless you know you’re on the right path.

5. Emotionally disconnect from your business

Another way of overcoming fear as an entrepreneur is to disconnect emotionally from your business. Does this mean you shouldn’t have any passion for your new venture? Not at all. You simply have to delineate your business from your personal life. Don’t build your identity on your success or failure in business. This will help get rid of the fear of letting others down.

6. Don’t worry about how others will perceive your failure

You may or may not have noticed this, but there’s one commonality among most successful entrepreneurs – people tend to remember only their successes. They’ve encountered failures too, but people rarely know or remember those. It’s your success that gets the most attention, while failures are mostly forgotten unless there’s something particularly memorable about them.

The point is, we worry too much about how our failures will be perceived by others. On your path to overcoming fear, you must remember one thing – we are the main characters only in our own lives, not in others’.  People would notice your failure, but it likely won’t draw as much attention as you fear.

7. Think if you’ll regret not doing something

As odd as it might seem, most successful entrepreneurs report that their biggest regrets are for things they didn’t do, as opposed to things they did. When you feel hesitant to do something (like investing in a new project, or including latest trends) because you’re afraid of things going south, think about it from a future perspective.

Put yourself ten years ahead, look back at your journey so far, and see if you regret not investing in the project. This will help alleviate your fears and allow you to work on the project with greater confidence.

8. Accept fear and failure as normal

Acceptance is the key to overcoming failure and fear. Don’t think of fear as something unnatural, something you cannot control. It’s just a human emotion, and it’s perfectly normal. Acknowledging and accepting your fears will help you deal with them better and avoid getting overwhelmed.

The same goes for failure too – you must accept your failures to overcome them and move forward. It’s a part of life, and you need to understand that you may fail again in the future. Unless you learn to accept your failures, how can you learn from them?

Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success.

9. Stop comparing yourself to others

This might sound like an overused piece of advice, but there’s a reason why it’s so popular. Overcoming the fear of failure is hard when you keep deciding on your failures and successes by comparing yourself against others. Everyone has their respective set of strengths and weaknesses.

There’s no point in bringing yourself disappointment by comparing against others on your weaknesses. Instead, set reasonable goals and work towards achieving them. Even if you succeed only partially, that’s still success to some extent.

Lessons Learned from Successful Entrepreneurs

10. Stay determined

Determination is crucial to overcoming fear, especially when things don’t go as planned. Running a business isn’t a smooth and trouble-free journey – it’s more of a rollercoaster ride with good times and bad times. Develop grit and face your challenges, taking on them with the determination to succeed. Overcoming failure wouldn’t be possible unless you remain fixated on your goals and don’t give in.

With that said, you shouldn’t be arrogant in the face of risks and challenges either. You need to face them, but you must do so in a level-headed manner. Bold decisions are necessary for business, but that doesn’t mean you need to ignore the bad signs.

Three ways in which fear helps entrepreneurs

Now that we’ve explored the ways to overcome fear as an entrepreneur, you might want to note that fear isn’t entirely a bad thing. There’s a reason why a negative emotion like fear exists – it’s necessary for our survival. From the entrepreneurial perspective, fear helps your business avoid disastrous outcomes. Here are 3 ways in which fear is helpful to entrepreneurs.

1. Constant optimizations

Fear encourages entrepreneurs to actively seek out flaws in their business model and fix them. This helps weed out the problems before they cause your business heavy losses. Concerns over projects and ideas drive entrepreneurs to make the necessary changes. In other words, fear would force you to take a proactive approach to problem-solving.

2. Seeking mentorship

As we mentioned earlier, successful entrepreneurs seek the support of mentorship of experienced individuals as and when needed. It’s the fear of failure that drives them to seek help from others and learn more to make the right decisions. Fear is actually quite a helpful incentive in this regard.

3. Increased commitment

For a determined entrepreneur, fear would act as a driving force to increase commitment towards to goal. When you fear what might happen if you fail, you’d work hard to avoid it at all costs. This, in turn, helps towards overcoming failure.

Take away

To sum up, fear can both motivate and inhibit you from reaching your goals as an entrepreneur. It’s up to you to strike a balance in your risk-management strategy, knowing when to take a risk and when to steer clear of it. However, unless you learn to face and overcome your fears, there’s no way your business can reach new heights.

When faced with a challenge keep a calm head and think of how to work your way through it. You may ask your mentors for help and learn new skills if needed. Most importantly, you must have faith in your ideas and stay determined to achieve the goal.

The post Overcoming Fear and Failure: Lessons Learned from Successful Entrepreneurs appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Francis Nwokike
Safety Tips for Investing in Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are a relatively novel invention and as with anything new that comes out we need to relearn safety and how to keep ourselves out of harm’s way and avoid scammers or anything similar that could separate us from our hard-earned funds, in this case, cryptocurrency. Safety can sometimes get complicated when it comes to technology so we’ll be doing our best to cover the most important ones while simplifying them enough so that you can figure them out even with minimal knowledge of how cryptocurrencies work. Safety is of the utmost importance so let’s dive straight into it.

9 Things You Should Know About Cryptocurrency and Safety Tips for Investing in Cryptocurrencies

Passwords and private keys

One of the main things you need to do is keep your passwords and private keys safe. Unless the circumstances are extreme there are very few reasons to ever give your passwords or private keys to someone else. Even if you trust that they won’t use them maliciously there is no guarantee that they themselves won’t be scammed down the line, losing your key/password even though they had no plan to give it up or any malicious intent at all. 

Making sure that your passwords are strong and hard to guess is also important. You should avoid using easily guessable sequences of numbers or letters. This prevents people from using brute force (systematic guessing with a program) to get your password. Another thing you should avoid is using any private info in your password that’s related to you as then they could figure it out and use it to guess your passwords. Examples would be birthdays or anniversaries, or even names of loved ones.

A good crypto wallet goes a long way

You can view your crypto wallet as a sort of vault that holds all of your currency. It’s important that you invest in your vault to make sure that it can protect your valuables and that you can have some peace of mind knowing that it’s extremely secure. There are various online wallets available with varying qualities, but we personally recommend getting either a desktop or hardware wallet depending on how serious you intend on being with crypto trading.

If you aren’t trading large amounts then a desktop wallet should suffice. As the name implies it sits on your PC and the cryptocurrency is stored there, this means that someone would need to gain access not only to your password and private key but also to the device itself. A more secure version of this is a hardware wallet, which you can imagine as a hard drive containing your currency. It’s easier to keep out of harm’s way as it can be kept offline and safe from most thieves. But you shouldn’t lose it.

Use two-factor authentication

Most exchanges and many other apps allow the option of two-factor authentication. In essence, this means that after inputting your password correctly you also need to input a code that is constantly changing and can only be viewed from your mobile device. This makes it so that nobody can take your cryptocurrency or affect it in any way if they haven’t also obtained your phone, meaning you can rest easy as long as you have it nearby.

Read up on the latest news

One of the most powerful things you can have against scammers and thieves is knowledge. If you’re informed of all the latest news and what scams are popular in recent times then the chance that you will be fooled by someone is far lower. Knowledge truly is power so make sure that you read up on everything from regular IT to altcoin news as any information related to cryptocurrencies that you read up on and learn will help not only with your safety but trading in general too.

It’s also pretty hard to be a successful trader if you aren’t well-informed so you have many reasons to read up on everything that’s going on and very few not to so checking in on what’s happening in the world, both in general and crypto-wise is incredibly important and we highly recommend it.


While keeping yourself and your cryptocurrencies safe may seem difficult to do given how new all of this is, these tips should be a good starting point and make sure that you’re at least safe from the most basic of thieves and scammers.

The post Safety Tips for Investing in Cryptocurrencies appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Samantha Rupp
Partnering with Influencers for Marketing Success

Gaining a following organically on social media is more difficult now than ever, so it’s crucial to find a strategy to help you get noticed. Unfortunately, consumers no longer follow brands as often as they once did. And, even if you have followers, it’s unlikely they’ll see all of your posts. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram cater to their users, who prefer to see posts from family and friends instead of companies. As a result, it’s harder to get noticed, but influencer marketing can help. 

Partnering with Influencers for Marketing Success

So why are brands choosing to work with influencers? Influencers are seen as thought leaders in their industries, and their followers trust them. Consumers are more likely to listen to and trust real people than brands. You can leverage this information to your advantage by working with influencers who are experts in their field. Here’s how you can start partnering with influencers to increase your marketing success:

Set Goals

Influencer marketing is effective for both B2C and B2B marketing, allowing businesses in all industries to work with people who can help them reach their goals. However, you must first have marketing goals. You can use influencer marketing for the same goals as other types of digital marketing. For example, you can use influencer marketing to increase website traffic, sales, and conversions or to build brand awareness. 

Consider how your influencer marketing strategy will align with other initiatives and find ways to measure those goals so you can report on and track them. For example, if you want to increase website traffic, you can track visits to your website from referral sources. Meanwhile, if you want to track sales, you can create a coupon code for your influencer campaign and track visits and conversions to a particular web page. 

Know Your Target Audience

Before reaching out to influencers, you must know your target audience. An effective influencer marketing strategy means reaching the right people through the right influencer, so you should define your audience. Most companies have several audiences, so you should segment them based on common interests. For example, if you sell apparel, you might want to reach out to female and male influencers to reach both audiences. 

Know How It Works

There are several rules to influencer marketing. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sets rules about disclosure, which tells consumers that influencers are paid to create posts. Depending on your preferences, you can rely on your influencer’s disclosure guidelines or create your own. In general, influencers must identify posts that companies sponsor. Influencers that don’t do so can get your brand into trouble with the FTC. 

This disclosure must be visible to all consumers, so hiding it within a post is forbidden. For example, videos must include verbal and written disclosure of the partnership. Therefore, influencers must state that the video is sponsored by a company and include more information in the description. 

Find Influencers

Finding influencers is one of the most time-consuming aspects of influencer marketing. First, you must ensure you find relevant influencers whose followers are your target audience. Luckily, most influencers are part of a niche and focus on a specific industry. For example, you can find beauty, pet, fashion, and diet influencers. More general influencers also allow you to target a wide range of consumers. 

You can start finding influencers by making a short list of individuals you think would be a good fit for your campaign. Then, look at various insights, such as engagement rates and the number of followers. Keep in mind that the number of followers isn’t always the best indicator for determining whether you should work with an influencer. Micro-influencers typically have more engaged followers, and they’re cheaper to work with. Many brands work exclusively with micro-influencers because they’re the most cost-effective and get them better results.

After you’ve created a list of influencers you want to work with, you can start researching them by going through their profiles and posts. First, determine whether or not they’re sharing sponsored content. If an influencer isn’t sharing sponsored content, it might mean they’re not experienced in working with brands. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it means you’ll have to do more work to help them understand your branding guidelines and how you want to run the campaign. 

You should find lots of organic content alongside paid content to keep followers interested and engaged. Additionally, you should watch their videos and look at their photos to determine whether their style matches your brand tone. While an influencer might be successful, they might not be the right option for your brand. 

Also read: Everything you Need to be an Influencer Marketer

Reach Out

Once you’ve found influencers you want to work with, you can begin privately reaching out to them. Start communicating with them in a personal way that allows them to learn about your company without trying to force them into a commitment. You can message them to let them know you think they’d be a good fit for your brand and suggest setting up a call to discuss it further. 

Try to provide them with enough information to learn about your brand, including links to your website. You can also tell them about the campaign you’re putting together and why you think they’d be a good fit.


Knowing what type of content you’re looking for is a good idea. However, you should always collaborate with the influencer to develop effective content. Many influencers have their own style, so it’s best to give them as much freedom as possible. You can provide them with branding elements like messaging, images, and logos, but let them use their own creativity to create the content. 

Of course, you should have the final say in any content before it gets published, so always ensure your influencers know that you must approve posts beforehand. 

Measure Campaign Results

Always measure the results of each campaign. You should have set goals; this first campaign can provide you with a baseline and help you brainstorm ideas for improvement. You can measure several vanity metrics, such as likes and comments, but keep in mind that engagement and conversions are the most important. Ultimately, you want to see a return on your investment. 

Influencer Partnerships

Influencer marketing is an effective strategy for increasing brand awareness and sales. However, it can be time-consuming without the right software. It’s also important to keep in mind the total cost. Working with influencers costs money. You might be able to find some content creators willing to work for free samples, but the most successful influencers work full-time and want to be compensated fairly. 

The post Partnering with Influencers for Marketing Success appeared first on The Total Entrepreneurs.

- Julia M. Carlson, Contributor
The Power Of Your Money Mindset
A common saying, we have heard is that “Money is the root of all evil.” Surprisingly, that is not the original quote, but like many famous sayings, it’s been misremembered and misinterpreted over time.
- Emily Mason, Forbes Staff
Signature Bank’s Quick Sale Leaves Crypto Customers In The Lurch, FDIC $2.5 Billion Poorer
Digital assets stay with insurer, Signet future in doubt, community banks angry.
- Rick Miller, Contributor
SVB, The Banks, The Economy, And The Market
Bankers and their depositors have different expectations. This expectations mismatch is the root cause of the current banking crisis, and banking crises in general.
- Richard Henry Suttmeier, Contributor
FedEx Corp Bottomed On September 27 And Is Now Trading Around Its Annual Pivot At $217.88. Here’s How To Trade It Now
FedEx Corp (FDX) is trading around its annual pivot at $217.88 after trading as low as $141.92 on September 27, 2022.
- Erik Sherman, Senior Contributor
Best Utility Stocks To Buy Now
Utilities are growing earnings at stronger than historical rates as they continue to ramp up investment to transform from fossil fuel to clean energy. Here are 7 utility stocks and ETF to consider.
- Charles Bovaird, Senior Contributor
Fed Raises Target Range For Benchmark Rate To Highest Since 2007
Federal Reserve officials opted to provide their latest rate hike, this time for 25 basis points. Further, the central bank issued its FOMC statement and Fed Chair Jerome Powell held a press conference.
- Delyanne Barros, Contributor
Will SoFi’s Lawsuit To End The Student Loan Freeze Alienate Potential Customers?
SoFi will have to show that they will be able to capture the business of the customers that they are now forcing into repayment.
- Simon Moore, Senior Contributor
Fed Sees Rates Close To Peak Levels, Downplays Banking Risks
The Federal Reserve raised rates 0.25%-percentage-points to 4.75% to 5% to fight inflation. However, the Fed and markets believe we are close to peak interest rates.
- Liz Frazier, Contributor
3 Steps For Small Business Owners To Avoid Common Tax Mistakes
Taxes are complicated, and mistakes can be costly for business owners. Some of the most common mistakes can be avoided if you follow these simple steps when preparing your taxes.
- Derek Saul, Forbes Staff
Fed Hikes Interest Rates Another 25 Basis Points—But Suggests The End Is Near
Interest rates are at their highest level since 2007, just before that decade’s financial crisis.
- Charles Bovaird, Senior Contributor
Fed 86% Likely To Hike Benchmark Rate 25 Basis Today, Says FedWatch Tool
FOMC officials will most likely provide a modest 25 basis point increase in the benchmark rate when they announce their decision this afternoon, according to figures recently pulled from the CME FedWatch Tool.
- Adam S. Minsky, Senior Contributor
Potential Student Loan Forgiveness Loophole Could Cause Problems And Confusion For Consolidating Borrowers
Borrowers hoping to maximize benefits under temporary student loan forgiveness initiatives may encounter significant confusion and serious problems if the Education Department does not clarify program rules.
- Teresa Ghilarducci, Senior Contributor
Q&A: Does Secure 2.0 Go Far Enough To Really Expand Retirement Savings?
The sorry truth is that most, over 63 million workers, have no retirement plan that will supplement their Social Security.
- David Rae, Contributor
9 Questions To Help You Decide Whether To Move In Retirement
Will moving help you have a happy retirement? The Fun Financial Planner shares 9 questions to ask help decide if moving in retirement is the right move for you.
- Robert W. Wood, Senior Contributor
IRS Expands Tax Relief For California Storm Victims
Storm victims have until October 16, 2023 to file 2022 individual income tax returns, as well as various 2022 business returns normally due on March 15 and April 18. They also have until Oct. 16 to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.
- - Powering a Personal Wealth Movement, Contributor
Adobe Announces Generative AI ‘Firefly’ Program And Wall Street Flocks Like A Moth To A Flame
We could see some Adobe stock price increases if the platform is as popular as investors think it will be.
- Brendan Ahern, Senior Contributor
Tencent Provides Promising Outlook As Investors Wait For Jay Powell
Asian equities were higher overnight on light volumes, while Indonesia was off for the Nyepi holiday, which is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation.
- Pattie Ehsaei, Contributor
Want To Decrease The Gender Pay Gap? Use Facts, Not Feelings
I had the honor of attending the Forbes Equal Pay Forum a few days ago where the main topic of conversation was, you guessed it, the gender pay gap.
- Brett Owens, Contributor
The Bank Mess Is Hiding Safe (And Cheap!) 6.6%+ Payouts
I’ll name two unloved (for now!) dividends we’ll target.
- Chris Carosa, Senior Contributor
The Best Side Hustles For Seniors In 2023
All the kids are doing it, so why not you? Retirees are increasingly earning extra income by running a small side hustle. What are the best ideas right now?
- Krista Murphy
New Technology in the Digital World

For women entrepreneurs, it’s not just about working harder or better than the competition. It's about utilizing technology and tools that can help you work more effectively and efficiently. New technology in the digital world can empower you to build your business, no matter the industry. For business owners, knowing what type of technology to use can be a challenge, though. Where should you get started?

Below are some of the options in new technology for the digital world for women entrepreneurs.

Project Management Technology for Entrepreneurs

Juggling numerous tasks, assignments, and projects is a good sign. It means your business is working and potentially growing. Yet, dropping the ball, perhaps due to a late assignment or a missed call, can tarnish your brand among current and potential clients. Project management tools can help with this by providing a digital way to always stay on top of your business.

Numerous project management tools are available, including some customized for specific industries or types of projects. Here are the top three options in both up-and-coming and proven project management systems.

#1: is an expandable project management tool with plenty of flexibility for customization. Project data, along with various reports and visualization tools, enables easy management of multi-step projects. It offers:

•             An easy-to-use interface

•             Plenty of configuration options to meet your business methods

•             Lots of marketing and CRM integrations

#2: Trello

Trello uses Kanban boards that tend to work well for highly visual people. It’s easy to learn and customizable for most businesses. Trello does a great job with its numerous template options, too. Some key features include:

•             A free plan that provides up to 250 automated comments each month

•             Lots of integrations, including Slack and Google Drive

•             Quick set-up with drag-and-drop design

#3: ClickUp

For startups looking for a cost-effective solution, ClickUp is an excellent choice. It provides numerous collaborative documents, whiteboard tools, and in-app chat features. It also can integrate with Dropbox, G Suite, Slack, and much more. You might choose ClickUp because of it:

•             Works well for different-sized teams

•             Makes workflow customization simple and effective

•             Lets you track and visualize project data

Accounting Technology for the Digital World

Accounting management is often a difficult part of managing new businesses. For women entrepreneurs who want to stay on top of their financials, there are some excellent technology options out there to support your success. Here are three proven and up-and-coming options.

#1: FreshBooks

For the most affordable business accounting software, consider FreshBooks. It provides a wide range of tools, including customizations to fit the way your business operates. Some key features include:

•             Comprehensive cloud-based accounting solutions

•             Excellent cash management tools

•             Easy-to-use visual dashboards for “seeing” where your money is going

#2: Sage

A newer option, Sage is an excellent choice for small businesses that want to enhance their automation. It provides full business application and enterprise resource planning resources in one. In new technology in accounting, hyper-automation is key, and Sage does it well. Key features include:

•             Automatic reconciliation tools, finance tracking, and cash flow forecasting

•             Straightforward purchase invoice management 

•             Cloud-based functionality with real-time banking integration

#3: Wave Accounting

Another newer company, Wave Accounting, is an excellent free tool with the ability to add payroll processing and payment solutions. It’s excellent for small businesses that want fast and efficient functionality without a lot of slowdowns. Key features include:

•             Recurring billing with automation

•             Unlimited partners and collaborator additions possible

•             A fully cloud-based dashboard

Digital Media Management Tools for Startups

Today's business owners have a significant amount of digital media to manage. Connecting with customers online, managing visuals, and creating engaging marketing platforms require some of the best modern technology. For your business, consider these specific digital media management platforms streamlining business efforts.

#1: Brandfolder

Brandfolder makes managing digital assets easy, helping you grow your business in a more streamlined manner. This digital asset management platform can help your business build your brand quickly and across all platforms with features such as:

•             Cloud-based storage to handle all forms of digital assets

•             Automatic asset tagging and organization

•             Analytics about who uses content and how

#2: Buffer

For social media management, Buffer offers a streamlined, affordable solution that can benefit most of today’s businesses, including those looking to rebrand. It provides ample support to get users started, and the tools are innovative and even some of the most cutting-edge. Key features include:

•             A full suite of features for engagement, publishing, landing pages, and posts

•             Excellent customer support to help clients stay up-to-date on the newest innovations

•             Analytical tools that provide insight into how any solution works

#3: Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a blend of customer relationship management and social media management, a unique combination of two essential tools for the digital world. It’s simple to learn but often upgraded to incorporate new tools and solutions. Some core benefits include:

•             Scalability that enhances growth opportunities

•             Post monitoring and scheduling

•             Analytic tools that provide insight into the best campaigns

Build Your Business with Confidence

These new technologies for the digital world allow businesses to take their business online, connect with new customers, and deliver efficiencies, including in financial management. From proven to newer solutions, these companies do it best because they offer the latest innovations in the industry that all women entrepreneurs can benefit from for most types of businesses.

Author: Krista Murphy, MLZ Creative

- Alycia Benson
Women's Entrepreneurship Day 2022

Celebrated by over 144 countries, November 19th, 2022 marks Women's Entrepreneurship Day, a chance to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of the women entrepreneurs in our communities who work tirelessly to drive economic growth, create vibrancy, and inspire the next generation of girls.

In Canada, over 1 million women are entrepreneurs, with 17 per cent of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses being owned by women. And that number continues to grow! In fact, over the past 40 years, the number of female entrepreneurs has quadrupled. The Government of Canada has identified that continuing to increase women's participation in the economy could add up to $150 billion towards Canada’s GDP.

That’s why it is so important that we build supports our women entrepreneurs can rely on. At Alberta Women Entrepreneurs we take that commitment seriously. Alongside our training and workshops, business advising, and mentorship opportunities, we’re working to transform the business environment for women. Earlier this year we worked with partners across the province to publish our Impact Paper, Leveraging Economic Opportunities for Women in Alberta, a framework that will help systematically address gaps for women entrepreneurs, current and future.

And Alberta is no stranger to incredible and hard-working women entrepreneurs. Alberta Women Entrepreneurs recently celebrated four inspirational women at the 2022 AWE Awards for their contributions to the province: Jennifer Schaeffer, owner of Onlea Enterprises; Vanessa Marshall, owner of Jack59 Inc.; Breanne Everett, owner of Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc.; and Manjit Minhas, owner of Minhas Breweries, Distilleries, and Winery. These women are a true example of what’s possible when women are full participants in entrepreneurship.

This Women's Entrepreneurship Day take the time to visit and support your local women-owned businesses. Their contributions continue to be vital to the health and liveliness of our province and country.


- Catherine Larose
Celebrating the 2022 AWE Award Recipients!

Supporting the entrepreneurs in our community means recognizing the amazing work women are doing and celebrating their successes. This past month, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs had the pleasure of honoring four outstanding Alberta women for their dedication and commitment to the Alberta business community at the 2022 AWE Awards.

Above (left to right): Jewel Buksa, Jennifer Schaeffer, Breanne Everett, Vanessa Marshall, Marcela Mandeville.

Celebration of Achievement Award

Awarded to an exceptional female entrepreneur who has achieved recognizable success and acts as a role model for women in business. This visionary woman is an inspirational leader who has built an entrepreneurial venture in Alberta that has made a significant impact on the economy and the community.

Recipient: Manjit Minhas, Minhas Breweries, Distilleries and Winery

Over 20 years ago, when she was 19, Manjit and her brother Ravinder set out to make a spirit that they could sell in local liquor stores. In just a short time, that idea snowballed into over 90 brands. Now, Manjit is the founder and owner of Minhas Distillery, Minhas Brewery, and Minhas Winery, earning her enough of a reputation to take a role as an investor on Dragon’s Den. Manjit is a true example of the vigour and vision that Alberta women entrepreneurs have in creating successful and long-lasting businesses on the global stage. Though she has faced challenges throughout her career, she reminds other entrepreneurs: failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a part of success.

Emerging Entrepreneur Award

Awarded to a female entrepreneur who has built a strong, scalable business foundation and has achieved early success.

Recipient: Jennifer Schaeffer, Onlea Enterprises

Onlea is more than an online learning platform; it’s a commitment to accessible, masterful, and quality education that helps their clients grow. From the opioid crisis to the proper use of pronouns, this empathy-led team is creating meaningful content while revolutionizing what it means to learn online. Jennifer focuses on combining different learning styles with gaming techniques, graphic design, and film to produce content that’s engaging. Her business recently launched a research and development project that will utilize artificial intelligence to further individualize the learning experience.

Indigenous Entrepreneur Award

 Awarded to a leading Indigenous woman entrepreneur with a strong business concept and demonstrates plans for future growth and commitment to the community.

 Recipient: Vanessa Marshall, Jack59 Inc.


Spurred by a desire to spend more time with her daughter, Vanessa founded Jack59, a company specializing in hair care. But Jack59 products are far from your average shampoo and conditioners. Built on the idea that small changes can have a big impact, all of the products are made with the goal of reducing single-use plastic consumption and global water transport. Vanessa is helping create self-aware consumers while providing a business environment that allows her staff with flexible working hours so they can prioritize their family, just like she did.

Upsurge Entrepreneur Award

Awarded to a female entrepreneur who has built a solid foundation for her business and is now experiencing rapid growth.

Recipient: Breanne Everett, Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc.


Though she loved working as a clinician, Breanne recognized that Orpyx would allow her to have a greater impact on the diabetes community. Rather than offering care for patients who were suffering from limb loss, she wanted to create an innovative technology that could help prevent it from happening in the first place. Now her team works with two centres of excellence across the province in order to ensure that people living with diabetes can maintain their mobility, something that will change lives for thousands of individuals. And Breanne is just getting started when it comes to her insole technology, believing that in the future it could be used for all kinds of movement-related situations.

Since 2012, the annual AWE Awards have recognized more than 1000 women entrepreneurs in Alberta as award nominees. This year’s recipients join a prestigious list of Alberta entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their communities and around the world. Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, ATB Financial!

AWE has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs through coaching, mentorship, leadership development, business advising, access to capital, and access to networks over the last 27 years.

To learn more about the AWE Awards, please visit

- Courtney Bettin
Building A Community Around Your Business

When a customer decides to go in search of a product or service, they have a plethora of options available. So, what drives them towards one option over another? There are many factors, but a big factor is the sense of loyalty they feel. And that’s driven by the community that’s built around a business.

You can start building a community by creating opportunities for customers to get to know your business better and even a chance to find a group of like-minded people. Those interactions make people feel like they’re part of something bigger, and if that feeling is consistent, then it strengthens the connection they feel to your business.

Small business owners are in a unique position when it comes to community building because they know their customers intimately. The more you get to know who your customers are and what they like, the more value you can offer them when interacting with your brand, and the quicker you can pivot with community desires.

Here are a few ways that you can build a community around your business that customers will be proud to be a part of:

Develop a social presence

This may seem obvious, but taking the time to create good social content can be one of the cheapest and easiest ways of building a community around your business. People reach for their phones dozens of times throughout the day, which creates a lot of opportunities for you to make a connection. This is also a great place for your customers to engage with one another, turning your brand into a space where people can discuss a common interest and feel inspired by new ideas.

Utilize software to get to know your customer base

To add real value for your customer, you need to know what they’re looking for in your business. Investing in software like customer engagement platforms or customer relationship management tools can help you find patterns in your customer data. AWE’s Bold Leadership Program helps business owners figure out what digital tools are best for their business to help improve performance.

Collaborate with other businesses

Capitalize on the work that other businesses are doing with their communities by creating partnerships. Maybe making a purchase at your store means they get 10% off at the coffee shop down the street. Or maybe you collaborate on a social media giveaway. There are a lot of creative ways that businesses can cross-promote and share the community they already have.

Host events

This won’t be feasible for every business but finding opportunities to host events will help customers boost those connections with each other while making positive memories in your space. Spending an evening surrounded by your products will make them more likely to purchase something, and they’ll leave with an experience they tell their friends and family about later. 

No matter how you decide to connect with your customers, the most important thing is to be genuine. Loyalty comes from really knowing and caring about a business, so don’t be afraid to show your personality! With a little time and consistency, you’ll be able to find people who are just as passionate about your business as you are and make a meaningful impact in their lives.


- Catherine Larose
2022 Awards Finalists Announced

EDMONTON, AB – A group of ten extraordinary Alberta women entrepreneurs were named this year’s AWE Awards finalists.

“These finalists represent incredible possibility, remarkable innovation, and undeniable talent,”  says Marcela Mandeville, CEO, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. “They are moving their businesses and our province forward.”

The awards, presented by ATB Financial, recognize the efforts of women entrepreneurs in four categories. This year’s finalists include:

Emerging Entrepreneur Award – Awarded to a female entrepreneur who has built a strong, scalable business foundation and has achieved early success.

Jennifer Schaeffer, Onlea Enterprises, Inc.

Shannon Van Norman, Shadow Vista Productions

Ashley Wevers, AdvancdAg Inc.

Carey Ann Thurlow, Risio Institute for Digital Dental Education Inc.

Indigenous Entrepreneur Award – Awarded to a leading Indigenous woman entrepreneur who has a strong business concept and demonstrates plans for future growth and commitment to the community.

Mallory Yawnghwe, Indigenous Box Inc.

Vanessa Marshall, Jack59 Inc.

Angie Saltman, Saltmedia Inc

Upsurge Award – Awarded to a female entrepreneur who has built a solid foundation for her business and is now experiencing rapid growth.

Breanne Everett, Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc.

Deanne Beis, Tenfold HR Solutions

Jenelle Wensley, Genex Marketing

Since 2012, the annual AWE Awards have recognized more than 800 women entrepreneurs in Alberta. Previous award winners include such notable Alberta entrepreneurs as Karina Birch of Rocky Mountain Soap Co., Karen Ryan and Lara Murphy of Ryan Murphy Construction, and Angela Santiago of The Little Potato Company.

Along with the awards, AWE has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs through coaching, mentorship, leadership development, business advising, access to capital, and access to networks over the last 25 years.

To learn more about the awards, visit: . Get your ticket to the in-person Awards Celebration at the Edmonton Expo Center on September 13 on Eventbrite.

- Guest User
Sustainability in Business

Sustainability has many advantages for your business. It can provide an improved brand image, greater employee retention, competitive advantages, and tax benefits, as well as minimize business costs and increase productivity and efficiency. Caring about sustainability has become more prominent in recent years, and consumers are more aware of a company’s impact on society, the economy, and the environment. Taking action to create a more sustainable company can increase customer loyalty and help to grow a successful business.

This article will break down sustainability into its three main pillars; social, economic, and environmental. These pillars are also sometimes referred to as people, profit, and planet.

Social SustainabilityWhat is Social Sustainability?

Social Sustainability focuses on how business operations impact people; including employees, suppliers, and partners. Social Sustainability can improve business strategy, supply chain, and consumer perception of the business. It can also help attract business partners, improve employee morale, risk management, and can help a business lead their industry and stand out against the competition.

Businesses that focus on social sustainability tend to prioritize things such as:

Human rights

Fair labor practices

Healthcare access

Workplace safety



Proper work-life balance

Cultural empowerment

Community engagement & volunteering

 Questions to ask yourself:

Does my business aim to meet the needs of a disadvantaged and/or marginalized group?

Does my business recognize cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity?

Does my business welcome diverse viewpoints, opinions and beliefs?

Does my business practice and encourage community contribution?

How does my business demonstrate commitment to an improved quality of life?

Economic Sustainability What is Economic Sustainability?

Economic Sustainability focuses on a business’s environment and economic wellbeing. Economic Sustainability promotes the idea of providing long-term benefits by growing the company in a way that is efficient and responsible to ensure consistent, ongoing profit without degradation.

Businesses that focus on economic sustainability tend to prioritize things such as:


Cost savings

Efficient resource use

Long-range planning

Smart economic growth


R&D spending

Questions to ask yourself:

Am I tracking my business expenses, profit, and savings?

How can my business meet my present economic needs without diminishing future economic opportunities?

Am I reinvesting my business?

How much of my resources go to waste?

Does my business contribute to the financial welfare of the owners, employees, and the community it operates in?

Environmental Sustainability What is Environmental Sustainability?

Environmental Sustainability focuses on maintaining business functions without jeopardizing the environment and the future of the planet. A business should responsibly interact with the planet to ensure natural resources are maintained and an environment that can continue to support human life is kept a priority. Environmentally sustainable business practices can also help to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

Businesses that focus on environmental sustainability tend to prioritize things such as:

Resource management

Emissions reduction

Renewable energy sources

Recycling, composting

Natural alternatives

Questions to ask yourself:

Are my decisions reducing my business’s negative impact on the environment?

Am I developing strategies and processes that will lead to my business becoming more sustainable in the future?

How can my business lead the community and other businesses towards environmental sustainability?

Am I looking at short-term gain instead of focusing on my business’s long term impact?

How and where does my business source its materials and resources?

Does my business publish an annual environmental report?


- Guest User
BOLD Leadership Overview

In today’s day and age, it’s nearly impossible to run a business that doesn’t include a digital component. Incorporating digital aspects to your business can look like so much more than just an online storefront. Many entrepreneurs may be missing out on huge opportunities to strengthen their business by not taking advantage of all technological possibilities.

That’s where Alberta Women Entrepreneurs’ BOLD Leadership program comes in.


Over the course of the program, entrepreneurs get a baseline of knowledge about what a digital transformation can look like for their business before creating a plan that fits their needs and abilities. “The Bold Leadership Program focuses on the critical components of building a digital strategy for a business.” Says Gabriela Touma; Bold Leadership Program Advisor. Covering a range of topics from digital marketing to improving the customer experience, the aim is of this program is to get participants thinking about all of the ways, big and small, that digitalization can save them time and money.

A lot of people feel overwhelmed because there is so much technology out there. AWE’s Bold Leadership program tries to give people enough of an idea of what the technologies are about and then how to start to incorporate that into their business.

Some entrepreneurs, like Danielle Cherewyk, focus on mapping out how to automate their business processes, saving their team dozens of hours a week. Others may focus on developing new revenue models so they can start scaling up. Beyond the tangible benefits that can come from putting new technologies into practice, the greatest win can be a shift in business culture.


We want to help leaders start creating a culture of innovation in their companies. Sometimes leaders will feel that all of the innovative ideas fall on them, but we help them build a framework so that they can actually draw on all the innovation and the talents in their team to help move the whole company forward.

“Within The Bold Leadership Program, business leaders will learn everything from how to build a digital strategy, how to effectively leverage current and emerging technologies, and how to understand the drivers of transformation, Touma says, but most importantly we are helping them navigate the digital space with other inspiring women leaders that are excited to learn, collaborate and add to the conversation.”

While teaching the skills is important, AWE recognizes that creating a network of support for businesses as they go through their digital transformation is what takes an idea from concept to execution. Participants have access to one-on-one time with expert digital advisors during and after the course so they can continue to receive advice that is relevant to their unique business.  

“The connections that happen in the program are remarkable. We’ve heard from many participants how much it has changed their businesses!”

- Guest User
You’ve Received Your Business Loan, Now What?

Getting the news that you’ve qualified for a loan to start or grow your business is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Knowing where to start and what to do with it can feel overwhelming. Here’s what we recommend doing before you receive the loan or as soon as you do:

Have a clear understanding of the terms of your loan

Step 1 is making sure that you clearly understand what the terms of your loan are, and what your repayment plan is. These are important because some loans can only be used for certain things, plus it’s essential to follow the terms of your loan.

For example, AWE Loans can be used for market-ready start-ups, business expansion projects, and business purchases. Loans can be used for a variety of expenses, including:

Leasehold improvements

Equipment purchases

Operating capital

Advertising and marketing costs

Purchase of inventory

Loans cannot be used for:

Owner’s salary

Re-financing existing debt

Franchise fees

Speculative ventures (e.g. Purchase of land for resale)

Intangible goodwill (i.e. business name or reputation)

Research and development

Purchase of stocks, shares, or other non-productive investment

Review your repayment plan and make a budget

The next thing you should do when you receive your business loan is to make a budget based on your repayment plan. All loans come with repayment plans, which should be discussed when applying for the loan and going through the application process. Now that you have the money, you should sit down and make a budget based on what you plan on spending and the terms of your repayment plan. 

Prioritize what you got the loan for

Refer back to your strategic/marketing plan - what was your plan for this money? It’s important to stay the course as much as possible and utilize this loan money for its intended purposes. We know that things can come up along the way and plans can change, but the more you’re able to follow that initial strategic plan you created and spend your loan money on those things, the easier it will be to stay on track with repaying the loan. Holding yourself accountable can be difficult. If you don’t have a business partner to hold you accountable, consider speaking with a mentor, confidant or one of AWE’s Business Advisors

Once you are familiar with your terms and repayment plan, have a budget mapped out and know where you’re going to be prioritizing spending the loan money, you can start spending it! This can feel daunting at first, but with a well laid-out plan and lots of thought having gone into this whole process, you shouldn’t worry about taking this next exciting step to grow your business.

For more information on AWE’s Loan programs, click here.

- Guest User
2022 AWE Awards: Nominees Announced
Celebrating Extraordinary Albertan Entrepreneurs


EDMONTON, AB –Alberta women entrepreneurs proved to be unstoppable in their efforts to better the world. Today, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is recognizing those efforts by naming nominees across four categories in its annual AWE Awards.

Awards Overview and Nominees

Emerging Entrepreneur Award – Awarded to an entrepreneur who has built a strong, scalable business foundation and has achieved early success.

Indigenous Entrepreneur Award – Awarded to a leading Indigenous entrepreneur who has a strong business, and demonstrates plans for future growth and commitment to the community.

Upsurge Award – Awarded to an entrepreneur who has built a solid foundation for her business and is now experiencing rapid growth.

Celebration of Achievement Award – Awarded to an exceptional entrepreneur who has achieved recognizable success and acts as a role model in business.


Next Steps

Edmonton’s nominee reception will take place ON June 23rd and Calgary’s reception will take place ON June 28th. Finalists will be named prior to the awards celebration in September, at which AWE will announce the recipients.


“Congratulations to all nominees! We are excited to celebrate the incredible contributions made by women in our province as you build a better economy and communities. Each year, our award nominees are inspiring examples of leadership and innovation in Alberta. Thank you for taking the risk to pursue your aspirations and inspiring others along your journey.”

- Marcela Mandeville, CEO, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

“ATB Financial is thrilled to celebrate the achievements of women in business. Your dedication to your goals and commitment to your dream has played a significant role in bringing resilience and transformation to Alberta's economy. Your passion inspires others and paves the way for future generations of women business owners and leaders. We congratulate all the nominees and wish you continued success!”

- Nikki Briggs, Head of Women in Business, ATB Financial

Quick Facts

Since 2012, the annual AWE Awards have recognized more than 800 women entrepreneurs in Alberta.

Over the last 26 years, AWE has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs through access to capital, connections and capacity.

Alberta small businesses contribute more GDP per capita than small businesses anywhere else in the country. In addition to providing jobs, these small businesses inject about $100 billion a year into the Alberta economy.

Special thanks to our presenting sponsor, ATB.        
- Guest User
How to Create a More Inclusive Workplace

The way you choose to communicate with your customer base is just one half of the coin. The tone that you set with your team behind the scenes is just as important to your success. Not only will an inclusive workplace create an environment where your employees feel comfortable and welcome, but research shows that organizations who make it a priority are more innovative and successful than their counterparts.

Having a diverse workforce includes hiring individuals with different backgrounds, ethnicities, neurodiversity, disabilities, and gender identities, creating a rich pool of life experiences to draw on. To be inclusive, there needs to be an emphasis on truly understanding the diversity of your employees and intentionally constructing a space where they feel like they belong and can thrive.

Recognize your bias

The first step towards creating a business that it equitable for every staff member is to take the time to educate yourself about your own biases. Even those of us with the best of intentions can be disregarding the needs of others due to a lack of awareness. Admitting what your blind spots are and identifying places where you need to do more learning is the first step to being someone your staff can count on.   

Create a safe space for employees

To create a truly inclusive space, team members should feel comfortable being vulnerable about their needs or pointing out places where there can be improvements. Frequently communicate and model the idea that everyone’s opinion is valued, and make sure there are a variety of avenues for individuals to express themselves and be heard, whether in a group setting, one-on-one, or anonymously.

Commit to constant learning

Being committed to inclusivity is not a one-and-done approach. Like other aspects of your business, it should continuously evolve and change as you learn more. No one is going to be able to get everything right all the time but developing a culture that is focused on growing together will move your team in the right direction. Consider how to have ongoing conversations with your staff and customers about your goals and look for opportunities to attend workshops or lectures that will further your knowledge on the topic.

Set goals and measure progress

At the end of the day, it can do more harm than good to say you’re going to work on inclusivity and then drop the ball when it comes to making real change. That’s why it’s key to set clear goals about what inclusivity is going to look like in your business and how you’re going to measure success. Be open to getting feedback from your employees on what is working well and what still needs improvement.

As you start to consider the many elements of an inclusive workspace and what is most important to your team, here are a few topics to keep in mind:

·         What language do you use in team meetings, on social media, on signage, and informally with your staff and customers? Think about the ways that your language may unintentionally be excluding or offending different groups of people. 

·         What holidays does your business observe and compensate staff for? Talk to your team members about what holidays they celebrate that may be different from you and consider what your vacation pay practices are.

·         What resources are available to your staff to support their individual needs? Who can they turn to if they aren’t getting the support they need? It’s hard to know all the barriers people face from first glance. Instead, have easily accessible information and resources that cover a range of needs and add to the list as necessary.

Though it may seem overwhelming at first, having an inclusive workplace will ultimately benefit everyone involved. When a team feels connected and appreciated, that transfers into a healthier space for them and better service for your customers.


- Guest User
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs to receive $3 million in funding to provide more access to capital for women business owners

Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurs has received $3 million in grant funding through the Women’s Economic Recovery - Capital Growth Initiative. The Capital Growth Initiative is part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, and an additional loan fund is now available to support women entrepreneurs who need easier access to capital. This investment will support more women who want to expand or start a business, helping diversify Alberta’s economy and creating new job opportunities throughout the province.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and Community Futures Network of Alberta will administer the loans from the Women’s Economic Recovery - Capital Growth Initiative.  Under the initiative, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs will provide capital to women in Edmonton, Calgary, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park, while Community Futures will provide capital to rural communities in Alberta. Under the initiative, up to $75,000 will be made available in repayable loans.

“Research proves that women entrepreneurs drive more than economic growth when their enterprises are successful – they change communities. Women were also disproportionately economically impacted by the pandemic. Access to capital for business investment for women entrepreneurs is essential to rebuilding Alberta's economy.”  - Marcela Mandeville, CEO of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

“Alberta’s economy has momentum and we want to keep it going. By ensuring that women entrepreneurs in our province have more access to capital to help grow their business, we are building for the future. This is an important opportunity to create more jobs and a stronger business environment.” - Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

Left to right: Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation, Phyllis Maki, Executive Director at Community Futures Network of Alberta, Marcela Mandeville, CEO at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, Whitney Issik, Associate Minister of Status of Women, Anna Liska, Owner at Always Occasions, Jewel Buksa, Board Chair at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

About Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses. AWE provides unique programs and services to women entrepreneurs through access to capital and connections, and support with building business capacity.

About Community Futures Network

Community Futures Network of Alberta has a rural focus and has helped rural Albertans launch, grow and scale their businesses. With 27 regional offices located throughout Alberta, Community Futures has significant reach into every corner of the province, including with First Nations, Métis Settlements, and Indigenous communities.

For more information:

Catherine Larose,

Marketing Lead, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

587 635 4278 ext.4278

- Guest User
6 Elements to Building an Effective Communication Strategy During a Crisis

As a business owner many people will look to you as a leader during difficult situations. Customers and staff alike will look for direction on how your business is going to operate going forward and how they will fit into that picture. There are a few key things to keep in mind when creating a communication strategy that will help keep the conversations going in the right direction.

When communicating with customers:

Create Trust

During a crisis it’s important more than ever to be a reliable space for your customers. Once your business has decided on a strategy, make sure that your messaging is consistent. All communication channels and staff members should be saying the same thing. Defer to trusted, credible sources of information and let your customers know how those sources influence your decision-making.

Be Timely

The elements of your business could change rapidly as a crisis evolves, so it’s critical that there is a plan in place to update customers in a timely manner. Changes to business hours, products, and delivery can have an impact on when and how customers interact with you, and these factors should be updated through the appropriate channels as soon as they’re known while still acknowledging that information may change over time.

Build Community

In times of uncertainty the relationship that you have built with your customers can be a source of comfort for both you and them. As much as possible try to focus on messages of solidarity and forward-thinking to create resilience in your partnership. Invite your customers to think about what their future experiences with your business will feel like and how it can benefit them in times of hardship.

In addition to any online communication channels, it’s important to consider what practical, physical signage you may need to incorporate. Provincial and federal health websites provide free posters that can be downloaded and placed around your business. Some useful signs include:

·         PPE reminders (masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, etc.)

·         Physical distancing

·         Business hours or an open sign (especially important in cases where the public may not expect you to be open or when hours are changing rapidly)

When communicating with staff members:

Be Transparent

There will inevitably be a few unknowns as you move through a crisis. Don’t be afraid to let your staff know what is uncertain or still being decided on. When decisions are being made, make a point of explaining why and what the implications will be for everyone involved.

Have Empathy

Good leaders should recognize that disasters are, of course, periods of stress and anxiety, and that will be no different for your staff members. It’s important to express understanding and gratitude as individuals continue to work through these periods of hardship. Emphasize what steps you are taking to prioritize and protect your team as their leader.

Allow for Autonomy

Where possible, make sure that communication with your employees is an open dialogue and they have opportunities to be heard and involved. Give them specific tasks to do and then show confidence in their abilities to carry out those tasks. Allowing them to make their own choices within a set of guidelines will help them feel like they have control while contributing to a greater purpose.  

Choosing the right communication style and medium is not always the easiest process, especially during times of stress, but when done right, it can build an even better connection amongst your team and customer base.

If you keep these 6 elements in mind while building your communications strategy, you will surely be able to effectively navigate through any difficult situation and keep the conversations going in the right direction.

- Guest User
Nasim Morawej shares her experience as a member of the AWE Board of Directors
Nasim Morawej, wearing red shirt and smiling with arms crossed

Nasim Morawej

Nasim Morawej first heard about Alberta Women Entrepreneurs after starting her engineering firm, Sentient Tools, in 2017. When positions opened up on the Board of Directors at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs shortly after, she decided it would be a good opportunity. That choice allowed her to navigate entrepreneurship while helping shape the future of it for women in Alberta.

Nasim’s curiosity and vision have made her an invaluable leader in creating a lasting impact on the community, and she emphasized how symbiotic the position has been for her. AWE encourages board members to participate in the various programs and seminars offered, and over her tenure, Nasim has taken the time to attend many of them, something she says has helped her develop a deeper understanding of the entrepreneurial space, and kept her inspired.

“It's a great opportunity because not only are you contributing and giving back to your community and you are also learning a lot. I have never seen any other board that is this organized and cares about the education of the board members this much.”

One of the most fulfilling aspects for Nasim has been the level of support she feels from the other board members. “That will be the most difficult part of stepping away from this, not to be a part of the group anymore,” she says. “It's been very difficult starting a new business and going through the pandemic. So it's been very inspiring to see all others who are very successful, talented people. The days when I just don't know if I can do this anymore, I pick up the phone and talk to other board members.”

After three years on the board contributing to both the recruitment and ownership linkage committees, Nasim is moving on to focus on a second business and her family. However, the relationships she’s created with AWE and her colleagues is something she plans to continue long into the future.

- Guest User
Understanding the Difference Between Financial Advice & Financial Support

Many entrepreneurs do not strike out on their own already having strong business acumen. Most are driven by passion and a desire to provide for their communities which can make financial management, a crucial part of being a business owner, a big challenge. When looking for help, how do you know when you need financial advice versus financial support?

It is likely that every entrepreneur will need both financial advice and financial support at some point in their journey.

Financial support is centered around obtaining the funds needed to start and operate a business. It can include loans, grants, and subsidies to help cover everyday costs.

It may be necessary to access financial support at various stages in your business such as covering start-up costs when launching your business, getting help when revenues aren’t enough to pay your expenses, or even getting help when one-time expenses unexpectedly come up, or in a crisis situation like the COVID pandemic. A business can also look at receiving financial support in order to expand its operations and reach new markets.

On the other hand, financial advice is focused on leveraging the resources you already have to your advantage and helping you decide when it is time to access financial support.

Financial advisors can offer support in a myriad of ways, including determining the best way to allocate capital, insight on risk management, and how to find opportunities. They may include research and case studies to help answer questions you have about moving your business forward in the best possible way.

Women entrepreneurs can experience unconscious bias when it comes to accessing capital which can result in being treated differently than their male counterparts.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs recognizes this and offers both financial advice and financial support to women entrepreneurs to help start, grow and sustain their businesses. We provide loans of up to $150,000 to cover expenses including operating capital, equipment purchases, and advertising. If a loan doesn’t seem like the right fit for a business owner at that time, there are resources available to help find grants and other funding opportunities that may be a better fit.  

We also offer free one-on-one advising sessions for entrepreneurs needing advice, whether that’s to discuss the next steps for their business or access other resources. Advising can be done through the phone or online which allows women from both rural and urban areas to access this service.

Dealing with your business’ finances doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Take advantage of the resources available and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It’s beneficial to society as a whole that you and your business succeed and thrive.


- Courtney Bettin
AWE supports women business owners through uncertain times
3 business women giving each other a high five

The COVID pandemic has reshaped nearly every aspect of our everyday lives. For business owners, the stress of a new normal has been compounded. The more intimate setting of a small business means that the impacts of hardship are apparent and often more personal.

“The pandemic has impacted small business tremendously,” says Jenifer Horvath, a Business Advisor with Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE). “The changes in shopping habits and the shift to online means that a lot of small businesses had to pivot really quickly. And that’s household income for these businesses. In many cases, they may not have been able to feed their families because they didn't have the income they needed.”

Throughout the pandemic the federal government offered CEBA, the Canada Emergency Business Account, which provided loans for small businesses across the country. However, many entrepreneurs were not able to take advantage of it because they utilized contractors, something that was not covered by CEBA.

Luckily, AWE was given the opportunity by PrairiesCan to provide relief funding through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. This fund gave entrepreneurs greater flexibility in how the money can be used. As a result, the entrepreneurs were able to use the funds in a way that best suited their needs.

“There was also a chance to use the money for technology improvements,” says Amber Hall, a Financing Specialist with AWE. “We saw a lot of entrepreneurs of course taking advantage of that and some pivoting their business model to really get in there and try and still make sales.”

“I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, it's not just ‘if you build it, they will come’ anymore,” she says. “It's build it, work on it, and build it some more.”

In addition to monetary supports, AWE has been hard at work to create a network of support where entrepreneurs across the province can feel heard. They’ve connected  like-minded individuals who had a shared understanding of the challenges that entrepreneurs had faced over the past two years. These connections have been invaluable in maintaining resilience within the small business community.

“A lot of our demographic is women,” says Horvath. “They shoulder additional stresses in the majority of situations. When their kids were home from school, they were responsible for overseeing that while trying to run their businesses and dealing with the normal stress of the pandemic.”

Webinars have been a great way for entrepreneurs to access timely information and be able to ask questions in a group setting. AWE has offered topics such as government supports, upcoming regulations, and how to transition to a digital format.

For those who need a bit more personalized support, all of AWE’s advisors can be booked online for a free half-hour Zoom call or phone call where they give tailored advice and share any helpful resources. This allows women from both rural and urban settings to get the assistance they need as they continue to move their businesses forward. 

“I hope women entrepreneurs see AWE as a safe place to share what's going on, to feel heard, and to be given some resources and ideas to help them move forward,” says Horvath.

If you have further questions about AWE and any of its services, feel free to email or check out their website at

- Courtney Bettin

Over the past 22 months Alberta Women Entrepreneurs has been hard at work facilitating the creation of an impact paper that will revolutionize the way that women entrepreneurs are supported in Alberta.

 Using a collective impact model, 68 organizations from across six regional areas of the province – Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, St. Paul, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge – have come together to address some of the biggest challenges facing women entrepreneurs. This new strategic approach will create a more sustainable path forward to overcome these barriers. 

 “We want to foster inclusiveness and diversity for all women from all regions and all types of businesses,” says Bev Latter, program specialist with Alberta Women Entrepreneurs.

 After facilitating over 27 listening sessions with the partners, a steering committee helped create a strategic framework that identifies five core barriers to entrepreneurial success.  Each areas was guided by team leads, and these will drive the short-and long-term goals moving forward. They include:

 1.     Purposeful Connections led by Jennifer Pragnell, Scotiabank, Joanne Comessotti, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Anita Kemp, Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)

2.     Gender-Based Bias Training led by Kari Morton, Business Link; Kathryn Hotte, Prospect Now

3.     Collective Return on Investment led by Heather Braid, MacEwan University, Keltie Gower, Edmonton Regional Innovation Network (ERIN)

4.     Utilization of Technology led by Bev Latter, AWE, and supported by Lan Tan, TEC Edmonton

5.     Financial Knowledge Empowerment led by Marie-Laure Polydore, Futurepreneur; Abdoulaye Barry, Action for Healthy Communities

 By bringing together entrepreneurial organizations who have similar objectives and moving from a fragmented approach to a collaborative approach where each region and group is represented, women entrepreneurs can have a space where they are supported to start, grow, and sustain their business no matter where they are in the province.

 And this is beneficial for more than just the entrepreneurs. Latter says that “from day one there was a significant response from partners to see this work move forward”.

 “The collaboration is really all about being mutually beneficial, but the relationship also involves this trust and commitment and then shared responsibility,” says Latter.

 Led by AWE, Alberta is the first province in Canada to launch a cohesive approach that will focus each organization’s unique skills and resources towards a common vision. The hope is that this work can serve as a roadmap of best practices for other communities and provinces who are looking to see greater impact through a more collaborative approach. Creating a shared vision and building commitment across the province and country about what supporting women entrepreneurs can look like, encourages better societal discussions and real action towards removing barriers.

 “We really need to do a lot more work in creating awareness and understanding support for women as a collective consciousness within our country,” says Latter. “We see the financial contributions that could be enabled by simply increasing the percentage of women who are growing their businesses. If we're going to be a globally competitive country, we need to support more women.”

 The AWE Strengthening Partnerships “Leveraging Economic Opportunities for Women in Alberta” Impact Paper was presented on February 1, 2022, with specific calls to action that will support the recommendations within the framework. But even though the paper has been two years in the making, it’s just the start of this provincewide partnership.

 “A dramatic and durable impact is only possible when you're in partnership working together,” says Latter. “That's what we've been hearing.” 

SP Impact Paper (full)
- AWE Marketing
The Journey to Digital Transformation, with Kathryn Joel
Kathryn Joel, Get Cooking

Kathryn Joel, Get Cooking

Kathryn Joel has been running her business, Get Cooking, for the past 10 years, but like so many other businesses, when COVID hit she had to consider how to move to an online format. Since her website was designed with an in-person event model in mind, there were a lot of hurdles for her small team to figure out.  

“We found that we were doing so much manually because of our switch to virtual,” says Joel. “It was a lot of man hours, a lot of work, and not great for our customer experience.”

After reading about the Bold Leadership program through the AWE newsletter, Joel decided to take advantage of the push towards online and signed up for the eight-week course. The Bold Leadership program aims to help entrepreneurs find ways to strategically rethink their businesses through a digital lens. This will look different for every business and can cover anything from new software implementation to automation to digital marketing.

“In the beginning I thought I was just looking for a CRM (customer relationship management software). Then as I kind of went through the course, I realized there was so much more that I could do that would help my business,” says Joel.

What Joel originally thought would be simple website remodification turned into a completely new site with the ability for customer accounts. Now, providing Zoom links, recipes, and after-class recordings is all done automatically, saving her and her team over 10 hours per week while streamlining the customer experience.

However, for Joel the biggest takeaway from the program has been the continued access to a team of advisors.

“The coaching has been huge,” says Joel. “I always say to people that I started a business doing something I'm good at and that I love, but I had no previous business skills per say. I think that's probably the case with a lot of entrepreneurs. So to have had people to lean on as I pivoted and made some big decisions about my business was huge.”

That sense of community is what Bold Leadership program lead Lindsay Vanstone says makes this program unique and a good fit for any kind of business. No matter whether a business is product based or service based, big or small, every entrepreneur will find tools that are helpful.

“People will come in with different levels of digital knowledge in their business, and we meet them where they're at,” says Vanstone. “We help reduce that feeling of being overwhelmed, reduce that feeling of being isolated. They're able to connect with other entrepreneurs in this cohort program, and they can talk about their issues and ideas together.”

Going forward, Joel still plans to develop a CRM to further improve the experience her clients experience online as well as implement better digital tools for her staff’s payroll and timekeeping. Eventually, she would also like to consider moving to a subscription model, something she has been discussing with her coach.

“I have in my mind all the time all of the things that I learned, the different processes that I can digitize and automate to free up my time more,” says Joel.

“I would recommend any small-business owner do this no matter how small or big their goals are in terms of digitizing. I think it will help open your eyes to the possibilities. Even if you're just sitting, participating, and listening, being exposed to ideas like that and options for your business is huge.”

- Catherine Larose
Creating Engaging Digital Content

When it comes to improving your business’s online presence, creating engaging digital content is a requirement for growth hacking and overall long-term success! The creation of online content opens the door for a broader reach to new and upcoming potential clients and audiences all while increasing your brand awareness with warmer leads. But, with all of the platforms, programs and online elements, which ones are worth spending your valuable and limited time on? Which will have the best return on that investment? Take a look at the most essential digital content outlets that the most successful businesses implement to guide you in choosing where you should invest your own time and money and start building your online presence!

Social Media Digital Content

Through the various social media platforms available, businesses have the exciting opportunity to share content and connect directly with targeted audiences that are interested in specific products or services with little financial investment. Before you can begin to create digital content for your social media pages, you need to first ensure you are on the correct platforms. And you don’t need to be on them all! A thorough look at your audience demographics, wants and needs, and online goals will help you identify which platforms are best to be present on.

But what types of digital content should you be sharing on your pages? A good rule to follow is that your content should be 80% engaging and organic content, and 20% sales-focused content. Not sure what types of things to share?

Consider posting:

●       Memes (tips, testimonials, business campaigns, etc.)

●       Relevant industry news

●       Product/service or company updates

●       Contests or giveaways

●       Blogs (yours and others)

●       Customer posts/images

●       Behind the scenes

●       Meet the team

●       Polls or questionnaires

Another way to further your online presence is by doing paid advertisements on social media. Almost all social media platforms offer advertising opportunities where you can create a sales image, select your audience demographics, and pay to appear on sidebars or platform feeds. Make sure to do a thorough analysis of your industry and competitors before investing too much here.

Blogging Digital Content

As identified on DemandMetric, “On average, companies with blogs produce +67% leads per month.” Something as simple as writing a blog once or twice a month (or more!) will drastically increase your likelihood of being found online. Want better blog success? The best blogs use search engine optimization (SEO) through the use of keywords and organic content that allows your business to be found by more users via Google searches. Improve the likelihood of your blogs being found by selecting a blog title that features trending keywords related to your industry. Is your title good enough? Use the Sharethrough or CoSchedule headline analyzer tools to assess your title!

Not sure what to write about? Remember, you are the expert on your business and industry! Create a list of popular questions your customer service team receives (or see what people are searching for on Answer The Public) and turn those topics into blogs.

Website Freebie – Lead Generation Digital Content

In order to advance your business’s lead generation and build a list of warm leads to grow with, offer something of value to your website visitors by providing them with a freebie! A freebie is a form of digital content created by you that provides an opportunity to collect emails from potential customers. The Freebie needs to be more than they would expect for free and may even be something you could charge for - it needs to be worth an email as currency and that price is high! Some freebie examples include:

●       E-book

●       Designed PDF (buying guide, information booklet, etc.)

●       Trial period of product

●       Educational webinar

●       Online course

The emails you collect from this freebie through a CRM plugin or contact form on your site will then be used to connect with those leads later on in your marketing funnels and content (ex. email drip campaign, newsletters, social media content, etc.).


Newsletter Digital Content

Once you have collected emails from your audiences, sending out a newsletter is a great way to stay in touch and at the top of your audience’s mind as you nurture them through a longer sales cycle. A newsletter offers a simple way to update your subscribers on what is happening in your business and remind them about your products/services. It is recommended that you send out a newsletter one or two times a month to keep them in the loop without feeling spammed.

 Your newsletters can include anything you want that is relevant to your business. Share testimonials, updates about business policies or services/products, promotions or sales, recent blogs, industry news, and other information that they should know about!

Invest in these essential digital content outlets and increase your ROI, boost your brand awareness, and expand your reach!

Want to dig deeper and learn more about effective content marketing? Join our free webinar “Content Marketing 101” on December 6. In this interactive workshop, explore how to blend strategy and storytelling to create content that helps drive revenue.

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Celebrating Women's Entrepreneurship Day 2021

Today is a day of celebration, pride, gratitude, and optimism; today is International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day!

As an organization, our goal is to achieve parity for women entrepreneurs in Alberta and beyond. For more than twenty-five years, we have connected women with access to capital, training and workshops, business advising, and mentorship opportunities—supporting the entrepreneurial dreams of women in our communities.

Supporting women owned businesses is more than just a catch phrase. A 10% increase in women owned SMEs could have a $198 billion impact on annual Canadian GDP.[1] And globally, advancing women’s equality and opportunity could add $12 trillion to the global economy by 2025.[2] 

There is no doubt that our communities and economies are stronger when women are full participants in entrepreneurship. But why do organizations like AWE care so deeply about this cause?

Job Creation

Research shows that there is great diversity in the aspirations of women entrepreneurs, with an increasing number interested in pursuing high growth ventures. As opportunities for entrepreneurship increase, even more women-owned businesses will shift from start up phases, to growth or scaling phases. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s 2020/21 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report, 30.2% of women entrepreneurs surveyed planned to hire six or more employees in the next five years, a number that has increased since 2019. [3]

Accomplishing Economic & Social Objectives

It is believed that businesses led by women blend both economic and social objectives, meaning that women entrepreneurs, while striving for strong financial performance, make Alberta (and beyond) a better place. [4] In fact, one motivator for pursuing entrepreneurship that is frequently reported by women entrepreneurs is the opportunity to do meaningful work.

Diversity in Leadership Styles

Increasing gender diversity in entrepreneurship provides the opportunity to activate a much wider range of leadership styles to propel their businesses toward success. A study from KPMG outlines the importance of situational leadership, or the ability to adjust one’s leadership style with fluidity depending on the circumstances, that is frequently demonstrated by women in leadership positions.[5] To go even further, a critical driver of business success is employing diversity of thought in order to solve complex problems.

Access to Financial Freedom

Entrepreneurship provides a pathway to generate income that differs from traditional work environments. More specifically, many women are motivated to pursue entrepreneurship as it enables increased flexibility that is more conducive to needs like work-family balance, or the ability to work from home. For those unable to participate in traditional workplaces due to personal constraints, entrepreneurship can be an avenue for many to achieve financial independence through means that are more accessible to them.

Products & Services that Fill Key Marketplace Gaps

30% of women entrepreneurs in Alberta report innovation in a product/service or market.[6] Innovation, radical or modest, is a central facet of successful entrepreneurship. With gender diversity comes a variety of perspectives and the ability to see and solve problems that may have been previously overlooked.

See It, Be It

Representation is paramount for the advancement of women entrepreneurship. As more women build successful businesses, they pave the way for future entrepreneurs to recognize the vast realm of possibilities that exist while breaking down barriers to entrepreneurship. The more we lift each other up, the clearer it becomes that these achievements are attainable for all. Look no further than to the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) See it. Be it. Database, featuring profiles of successful women entrepreneurs across Canada, for proof that “women need to see successful women entrepreneurs so they can dare become one.”

Gender Equality in Work = Gender Equality in Society

As stated in the McKinsey & Company report, The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in Canada, “the former is not possible without the latter.” Encouraging more women to be entrepreneurs is one of many initiatives that can make Canada a global leader in gender equality. Namely, increasing “the ability of women to be equal players in labour markets—to find employment, be compensated fairly for it, gain the skills and opportunity to perform higher productivity jobs, and share work outside the market economy equitably.”

The above reasoning is only the tip of the iceberg. The benefits of achieving parity for women entrepreneurs are endless. This International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, let us celebrate how far we have come, dream boldly of where we may go, and act fiercely in our resolutions to advance women entrepreneurship here and now. #choosewomen

Client Feature: Adetoun Aiyeleye

Recently, AWE sat down with Adetoun (Abby) Aiyeleye, a longtime innovator, entrepreneur and Co-founder of Clavis Studio, an online design platform that simplifies the home design experience for professionals and design enthusiasts using immersive 3D technology. Through their interactive, immersive experience, the company is expanding market access for small businesses and creating opportunities for people who want simple, integrated and highly-effective tools to get their work done.

While Clavis Studio was founded quite recently, Abby’s entrepreneurial spirit was sparked much earlier in time.

“My introduction to entrepreneurship started 18 years ago on eBay. I was in University and I figured out that re-selling popular items was actually quite lucrative. 

From then on, I narrowed my focus on niche markets and one of them was an online lingerie store for well-endowed women, who would ordinarily struggle to find their sizes in the stores. With Clavis Studio, my co-founder and I got very interested in exploring and changing the design narrative based on shared experiences, and the rest is history!”

While Clavis serves as a medium through which designers can turn their concepts into reality, the same is true for Abby who gets to live out her creative vision and passion for interior decorating through the development of a cutting edge technological solution.

But, she also attributes her success to the presence of those consistently championing her and her business.

 “I have a great support system including my family, friends and mentors. My friends are always putting word out and referring people to Clavis and I approach my mentors for different types of support; Sandra Woitas always makes warm introductions, Ralph Young provides industry support, Victor Tanti has a wealth of knowledge and domain expertise to share and Ashif Mawji helps with strategic thinking and planning.”

In fact, one word in particular comes to mind when reflecting on her community. She describes “Wahkohtowin. It's a Cree word which denotes the interconnected nature of relationships, communities and natural systems. It resonates with me because I love to meet and connect people based on common interests, and I believe there's strength in interconnectedness.”

It’s also through community that Abby connected with AWE. First, through a referral from Business Link years ago. And more recently, she was reconnected again in 2021 when Allie Knull of ResumeFree mentioned AWE at an Accelerator event she attended. “Clavis Studio has raised seed financing from AWE,” she explains, “which is key to us achieving more market traction and expanded market access.”

In a few weeks, Clavis Studio will open up their platform to other professionals and aspiring designers to create their own beautiful spaces and collaborate with their clients all through a web app. “This will create a huge job impact and is quite timely as we all focus on economic recovery from the pandemic,” Abby adds.

When asked, “Who inspires you?” Abby replied,

“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She inspires me because there is a conviction, drive and purpose to everything she does that I find very admirable.”

We would add that the same can be said about Abby. With her conviction, hunger for innovation and dedication to doing what she loves with fun and flair, she is an inspiration to women entrepreneurs everywhere.

- Dana Feldman, Senior Contributor
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How Bad Does a Septum Piercing Hurt?
How Bad Does a Septum Piercing Hurt?

How bad does a septum piercing hurt? Generally, it is considered to be a moderately painful piercing. The pain is typically brief and tolerable and lasts only for a few seconds during the actual piercing process.

Some people report feeling a sharp pinch or pressure sensation during the piercing, while others may experience more of a burning or stinging sensation.

It’s important to keep in mind that pain is subjective and what may be a high level of pain for one person may not be as significant for another.

The pain level of getting a septum piercing can also be influenced by several factors, including the individual’s pain tolerance, the skill level of the piercer, and the size of the jewelry being inserted. Your experience may also be affected by the technique used by the piercer, as some piercers use clamps to hold the tissue in place during the piercing, which can increase the sensation of pressure.

After the piercing is done, it’s common to experience some swelling, soreness, and tenderness around the piercing site for a few days. Proper aftercare, such as cleaning the piercing regularly and avoiding touching or twisting the jewelry, can help to minimize discomfort and promote healing.

Septum Piercing Pain Scale 1-10

On a pain scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain imaginable, most people who get a septum piercing report the pain level as being between a 3 and a 5. That being said, pain is a subjective experience, and what may be a high level of pain for one person may not be as significant for another.

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s pain tolerance and experience may vary, and while some people may find a septum piercing to be relatively painless, others may find it more uncomfortable. If you have concerns about the pain associated with a septum piercing, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your piercer beforehand.

How Bad Does a Septum Piercing Hurt?

How Long Does It Take a Septum Piercing to Heal?

Healing time will depend on each individual, though — for some people, healing will be complete after 2-3 months. For others, it can take up to 8 months. Before it heals, you need to take good care of your piercing to prevent any discomfort.

Septum Piercing Healing Stages

Here’s a general timeline of what to expect during the healing process:

First few days: You may experience some swelling, tenderness, and bleeding around the piercing site. You should avoid touching or rotating the jewelry during this time. First few weeks: The swelling should start to subside, but you may still experience some redness and soreness. It’s important to keep the area clean and avoid any irritants like makeup or perfume. First few months: The piercing should start to feel less tender, and the skin around the piercing should begin to toughen up. You should continue to clean the piercing regularly and avoid any activities that could cause trauma to the piercing site.

It’s important to be patient and follow proper aftercare instructions to ensure that your septum piercing heals properly. If you experience any signs of infection or rejection such as excessive swelling, redness, or discharge, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

When Can I Change My Septum Piercing?

Before you change your jewelry, it’s best to wait for 2-3 months to make sure the initial septum piercing is healed (and that there are no signs of infection). It takes some people longer to heal than others.

If there’s any doubt, check with your piercer or a doctor before deciding to switch to a new piece of jewelry.

Septum Piercing Jewelry

You can use a wide variety of nose jewelry for septum nose piercings. The most common types of septum rings are curved barbells (horseshoe septum piercing), septum clickers, captive bead rings, and plain rings.

You can also go with a fake septum piercing if you want to avoid the pain and risks of nose piercings.

1. Curved Barbells

Types of septum rings: Pros, cons, sizes, and metals

Ashley Piercing Jewelry Titanium nose ring curved barbell horseshoe 5 pcs $29.9, SHOP NOW.

Curved barbells are the most popular choice among all types of septum rings. They have a curve that takes the shape of an arch with two balls on either end. You can go with a traditional round bead or opt for other shapes and accents.

These barbells are sometimes called “horseshoe septum piercing” because they look like horseshoes.

2. Captive Bead Rings

Ashley Piercing Jewelry 16 gauge captive bead nose ring made of implant grade titanium $19.9, SHOP NOW.

Captive bead rings (CBRs) are a traditional choice for a septum piercing. CBRs are a full circle with a bead closing the loop. You can replace the bead with a pearl, birthstone, or another unique style. They are popular, coordinating easily with other pieces of jewelry.

3. Septum Clickers

Ashley Piercing Jewelry septum clicker nose ring 16G $21.9, SHOP NOW.

Septum clickers take the shape of a loop but have a hinged design that opens and closes. You unhinge the clicker, insert it through your nose, then close the hinge. Clickers may be a simple loop, have a dangling chain, or showcase a collection of gemstones. Septum clickers are easy to put in and look amazing.

4. Seamless Rings

Ashley Piercing Jewelry 14K gold septum piercing ring simple and minimalist $34.9, SHOP NOW.

When shopping for septum jewelry, you may come across “classic” septum nose rings or seamless rings. When they are inserted properly, they create a complete, closed shape. They may be a complete circle, or they may take other fun shapes like a heart, moon, or oval.

There is no bead or latch visible for a seamless look. They are typically just a metal hoop, which is ideal if you’re looking for something simple. They are the most minimalist among all types of septum rings.

Septum Piercing Aftercare

Proper aftercare is crucial for ensuring that your septum piercing heals properly and reduces the risk of infection or other complications. Here are some general aftercare instructions to follow:

Clean the piercing regularly: Gently clean the piercing twice a day with a piercing aftercare spray or a homemade saline solution or mild soap and water. You can use a cotton swab or a clean piece of gauze to apply the solution. Avoid touching the piercing: Avoid touching or rotating the jewelry as much as possible, as this can cause irritation or slow down the healing process. Avoid irritants: Avoid exposing the piercing to irritants like makeup, perfume, or harsh cleaning products. Be gentle: Be gentle when blowing your nose, and avoid any activities that could cause trauma to the piercing site, such as playing contact sports. Watch for signs of infection: Keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as excessive swelling, redness, or discharge. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Keep up with your aftercare routine: Continue to clean the piercing regularly and follow all aftercare instructions until the piercing has fully healed. Read More

Does Claire’s Do Nose Piercings?

Rejected Septum Piercing: How to Tell and What to Do?

Bridge Piercing With Glasses: Can You Get a Bridge Piercing With Glasses?

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- Camille
Bridge Piercing With Glasses: Can You Get a Bridge Piercing With Glasses?

If you wear glasses and are considering a bridge piercing, it is important to keep in mind that the glasses may interfere with the healing process and cause irritation or discomfort.

Bridge Piercing With Glasses

Can you get a bridge piercing with glasses? Yes, it is okay to get a bridge piercing if you wear glasses. However, it is important to keep in mind that the glasses may interfere with the healing process and cause irritation or discomfort.

The bridge piercing, which is located on the nose between the eyes, can be particularly susceptible to irritation from glasses.

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Follow These Tips if You Want A Bridge Piercing With Glasses

Here are some tips to minimize the risk of complications when getting a bridge piercing with glasses:

Consider the size and shape of your glasses: It may be helpful to bring your glasses with you to the piercing appointment so that the piercer can evaluate the placement and size of the piercing relative to your glasses. Choosing glasses with a lighter frame or smaller nose pads may also help reduce irritation. Be gentle when putting on and taking off your glasses: It is important to avoid putting pressure on the piercing site when putting on or taking off your glasses. Try to slide the glasses on and off gently, rather than pulling them away from the face. Use a piercing retainer during the healing process: A piercing retainer is a clear or flesh-colored piece of jewelry that can be used during the healing process to keep the piercing open without drawing attention to it. This can help reduce irritation from glasses rubbing against the piercing site. Keep the piercing clean and dry: Proper aftercare is essential to promote healing and prevent infection. It is important to keep the piercing clean and dry and to avoid getting it wet while showering or swimming.

If you experience any pain, swelling, redness, or discharge, or if you are having difficulty wearing your glasses comfortably, contact a healthcare professional or piercer for advice. They may recommend additional aftercare measures or recommend removing the jewelry if necessary.

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Recommended Jewelry for a Bridge Piercing With Glasses 1. Recommended Sizes for a Bridge Piercing With Glasses

The safest gauge sizes (thickness) for bridge nose piercings are 12G (2 mm) and 14G (1.6 mm). Piercers often use a slightly larger needle (16G/1.2 mm and 18G/1 mm are smaller) to make healing easier and minimize the risk of rejection.

Length-wise, the recommended barbell length for bridge piercing jewelry is anywhere from 1/2” (12 mm) to 5/8” (16 mm) depending on the individual’s anatomy and the initial swelling after the piercing.

Initially, a longer barbell may be used to accommodate any swelling that may occur after the piercing. However, as the piercing heals, the piercer may recommend downsizing to a shorter barbell or curved barbell.

2. Recommended Styles: Curved and Straight Barbells

Among all nose jewelry types, curved barbells are the common choice for this piercing type. However, straight barbells are also relatively common. These pierci